Woody Allen book pulped after walkout at publisher

Image copyright
Getty Images/PA Media

Image caption

Ronan Farrow supports his sister’s allegations against their father

A US publishing house has cancelled plans to publish a memoir by Woody Allen, the award-winning film director who has been accused of sexual abuse.

Hachette Book Group (HBG) acted on Friday a day after its employees staged a walkout in New York and Boston to protest against the publication.

Allen’s son and daughter, Ronan and Dylan Farrow, had condemned the deal.

Mr Farrow, a journalist, wrote a book for HBG last year about how powerful men avoid punishment for misconduct.

Mr Farrow is Allen’s son with actress Mia Farrow.

His adopted sister, Dylan Farrow, has accused Allen of sexually abusing her in 1992 when she was seven years old. He denies the claim, which was investigated at the time but led to no criminal charges.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Dylan Farrow with mother Mia in 2016

What has the publisher said?

A statement by HBG spokeswoman Sophie Cottrell called the decision to pulp Allen’s autobiography – Apropos of Nothing – “a difficult one”.

“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,” she added.

She said that listening sessions had been held with staff members, which led the publisher to come “to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible”.

The publishing house also plans to return the rights to Allen, the statement added.

The Oscar-winning director has written and directed cult classics including Annie Hall and Manhattan.

Allen lost a four-film deal with Amazon last November following comments he made about the #MeToo movement.

How did the book controversy begin?

The book rights seem to have been acquired by HBG last year, but the announcement that it would be released in April only came this week.

Dylan Farrow released a scathing statement on Monday, accusing Hachette of betraying one of their authors, her brother Ronan Farrow, whose book about the Weinstein allegations, Catch and Kill, was published by HBG in October 2019.

“Hachette’s publishing of Woody Allen’s memoir is deeply upsetting to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother whose brave reporting, capitalised on by Hachette, gave voice to numerous survivors of sexual assault by powerful men,” she wrote.

“This provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money and notoriety affords. Hachette’s complicity in this should be called out for what it is and they should have to answer for it.”

Mr Farrow also released a statement, accusing HBG of having concealed the book deal from him and its staff.