One day after its employees staged a walkout in protest, Hachette Book Group announced that they will not be publishing Woody Allen’s memoir, Apropos of Nothing. The autobiography was set for an April 7th release.
“The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one,” the company said in a statement. “At HBG 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 view can be heard,” they continued. “Also, as a company, we are committed to offering a stimulating, supportive and open work environment for all our staff. Over the past few days, HBG leadership had extensive conversations with our staff and others. After listening, we came to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible for HBG.”
Hachette announced on Monday that their division, Grand Central Publishing, would be releasing the memoir. Allen’s career has been considerably stifled in the wake of the #MeToo movement; he recently filed a $68 million dollar lawsuit against Amazon for terminating his contract.
The announcement ensued in controversy when Allen’s son, investigative reporter Ronan Farrow, took to Twitter to announce his separation from Hachette. Farrow — who released his bestselling book Catch and Kill via Hachette last fall — claimed the acquisition was concealed from him. He also noted that his sister Dylan, who accused Allen of molesting her when she was seven years old, was not contacted for fact-checking purposes — which isn’t uncommon in book publishing.
“Each book has its own mission,” Michael Pietsch, chief executive of Hachette, told the New York Times on Thursday. “Our job as a publisher is to help the author achieve what they have set out to do in the creation of their book. 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.”
However, employees of the Hachette imprint Little, Brown walked out of their offices in protest on Thursday, supporting the Farrows and survivors of sexual assault. While announcing the memoir’s cancelation, Hachette claimed they returned all rights to Allen.
Allen’s last film, A Rainy Day in New York, was released in Europe in 2019 but not in the States. The film’s star, Timothée Chalamet, publicly apologized for participating in the project and donated his salary to charity. However, Cherry Jones, who played Chalamet’s mother in the film, feels a bit differently.
“I did my homework,” she recently told the Guardian. “I went back and studied every scrap of information I could get about that period. And in my heart of hearts, I do not believe he was guilty as charged. I didn’t say that. I just said, in this heated place, there are those who are comfortable with their certainty. I am not. I don’t know the truth, but I know that if we condemn by instinct, democracy is on a slippery slope.”
Rifkin’s Festival, Allen’s latest project featuring Christoph Waltz and Gina Gershon, is currently seeking distribution.