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Publisher cancels Woody Allen’s book after staff walkout

Letty Aronson, Allen’s sister and producer, declined to comment.

Hachette announced the book deal on Monday, saying its Grand Central Publishing imprint would release Allen’s autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, on April 7. It described the book as “a comprehensive account of his life, both personal and professional,” and said it would include Allen’s writing on “his relationships with family, friends, and the loves of his life”.

Journalist Ronan Farrow lambasted publisher Hachette for acquiring and releasing Woody Allen's memoir.

Journalist Ronan Farrow lambasted publisher Hachette for acquiring and releasing Woody Allen’s memoir.Credit:Invision/AP

The journalist Ronan Farrow, Allen’s son with actress Mia Farrow and whose book Catch and Kill was published by another Hachette imprint, criticised Hachette earlier this week, calling its decision to publish Allen’s book a betrayal.

“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 wrote to Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette, in an email.

Farrow’s reporting on accusations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein and other powerful men helped touch off the #MeToo movement. He and his adopted sister, Dylan Farrow, have long accused Allen of molesting her when she was a child, allegations Allen has denied. Allen was not charged after two investigations.

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Pietsch, in an interview earlier in the week, defended the decision to publish Allen’s book and said the company’s imprints don’t interfere editorially with one another. “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,” he said. “That’s what they’ve chosen to publish.”

On Thursday, Hachette employees staged a walkout to protest their company’s plans. Hachette subsequently said it would have “a fuller discussion” with its staff members.

Ronan Farrow didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Allen, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, has seen his legacy tarnished by the allegations about his daughter. An agent representing him had approached several publishers since late 2018 but was “met with indifference or hard passes,” The New York Times reported last year. In November, Allen and Amazon settled a breach of contract lawsuit after the company backed out of a multi-movie deal with Allen after #MeToo allegations from the 1990s resurfaced against him. Allen filed the suit against Amazon earlier last year.

The New York Times

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