On Friday afternoon, Hachette Book Group announced that they would no longer be publishing Woody Allen’s autobiography, returning all rights to Allen following protest from the company’s employees.
A spokesperson for the publisher issued a formal statement which read: “The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one. We take our relationships with authors very seriously, and do not cancel books lightly. We have published and will continue to publish many challenging books. As publishers, we make sure every day in our work that different voices and conflicting points of views can be heard.”
Company executives discussed the upcoming publication with employees and said that “after listening, we came to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible for HBG.”
The autobiography, entitled Apropos of Nothing, was intended to be published on 7 April this year. It was advertised as “a comprehensive account of his life, both personal and professional.”
Ronan Farrow, son of Allen with Mia Farrow, wrote to Hachette’s CEO, Michael Pietsch, earlier this week, that “Your policy of editorial independence among your imprints does not relieve you of your moral and professional obligations as the publisher of Catch and Kill, and as the leader of a company being asked to assist in efforts by abusive men to whitewash their crimes.”
Farrow published Catch and Kill, an examination of the challenges he faced chasing the stories of Harvey Weinstein’s abuse, with Hachette in October of last year. He and his sister Dylan Farrow accused Allen of molesting her as a child, however, Allen has never been charged.
Pietsch had previously defended the decision to publish the autobiography earlier this week, stating that: “Grand Central Publishing believes strongly that there’s a large audience that wants to hear the story of Woody Allen’s life as told by Woody Allen himself. That’s what they’ve chosen to publish.”
Thursday saw Hachette employees stage a walkout in protest of the decision to publish Allen’s book.
Chief executive of PEN America, a free-speech non-profit, Suzanne Nossel, referred to the decision not to publish as “something of a perfect storm.”