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Book Publisher Reverses Course On Woody Allen Memoir After Staff Walkout. Did They Make The Right Call?




Director-actor Woody Allen speaks onstage.
Director-actor Woody Allen speaks onstage.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

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Woody Allen’s publisher has decided to cancel the planned release of his memoir “Apropos of Nothing.” 

The announcement Friday by Hachette Book Group followed days of criticism focused on allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow. On Thursday, dozens of Hachette employees staged a walkout.

“The decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one. At HBG we take our relationships with authors very seriously, and do not cancel books lightly,” the publisher announced. “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.” Allen’s book was scheduled to come out next month.

Allen has denied any wrongdoing and was never charged after two separate investigations in the 1990s. But the allegations have received new attention in the #MeToo era. Allen's agreement with Hachette meant that he briefly shared a publisher with one of his biggest detractors, his son Ronan Farrow, whose “Catch and Kill” was released last year by the Hachette division Little, Brown and Company. 

“Hachette’s publishing of Woody Allen’s memoir is deeply upsetting to me personally and an utter betrayal of my brother whose brave reporting, capitalized on by Hachette, gave voice to numerous survivors of sexual assault by powerful men," Dylan Farrow said in a statement Monday hours after details of the book were released by The Associated Press. Ronan Farrow followed up a day later, calling Hachette’s decision “wildly unprofessional.” Both he and his sister complained that the publisher had not reached out to fact check their father’s book.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll discuss the publisher’s decision to pull the memoir and take your calls. Do you agree with the book publisher's decision? Join the live conversation by calling 866-893-5722.

With files from the Associated Press

We reached out to Woody Allen and Hachette Book Group to invite them to participate in our discussion. As of the airing of this segment, we have not received a response. We will update this segment if and when we hear from them.

Note for AirTalk listeners: Please call in to talk about Hachette’s decision not to publish Woody Allen’s memoir. We cannot wade in thoughtfully on the guilt or innocence of anyone in the family. We want to know what you think of the choice of the book publisher not to publish the memoir.

Guests:

Alison Levine, mountaineer, keynote speaker and author; her book “On The Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments” was published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, the company that originally agreed to publish Woody Allen’s memoir; she tweets @Levine_Alison

Suzanne Nossel, chief executive officer of PEN America, a national organization of writing and publishing professionals that advocates for free expression in literature, and author of the upcoming book “Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All” (Harper Collins, May 2020); she tweets @SuzanneNossel

Rod Dreher, senior editor at The American Conservative and author of the piece “The Woody Allen Witch Hunt”; his book  “The Little Way of Ruthie Leming” was published by Grand Central Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, the company that originally agreed to publish Woody Allen’s memoir he tweets @roddreher