Woody Allen’s memoir: Hachette employees stage walk-out over book deal

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Jessica Rapana
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The protest follows Ronan Farrow’s statement that he will no longer work with the publisher.

Hachette US employees have staged a walk-out at several imprints to protest their employer’s decision to publish Woody Allen’s memoir.

Apropos Of Nothing, once believed to be unpublishable in the #MeToo era, is being released next month by Hachette. The same company also published, Catch And Kill, the book by Allen’s son, Ronan Farrow, in which he details his investigations into cases of abuse.

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On Thursday, a tweet showed more than 75 employees gathered after leaving their offices. Harper Collins tweeted its support of the protest, saying: “collective action is how we cold the powerful accountable”.

“We respect and understand the perspective of our employees who have decided to express their concern over the publication of this book. We will engage our staff in a fuller discussion about this at the earliest opportunity,” Hachette Book Group told The Hollywood Reporter.

The walk-out follows a statement by Farrow earlier this week saying that he could no longer work with the publisher in “good conscience”.

“I was disappointed to learn through press reports that Hachette, my publisher, acquired Woody Allen’s memoir after other major publishers refused to do so and concealed the decision from me and its own employees while we were working on Catch and Kill – a book about how powerful men, including Woody Allen, avoid accountability for sexual abuse,” Farrow tweeted on Tuesday.

He also pushed for the company to fact-check Allen’s memoir. “My sister Dylan has never been contacted to respond to any denial or mischaracterization of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen — a credible allegation, maintained for almost three decades, backed up by contemporaneous accounts and evidence,” he said. 

“It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way. But it also shows a lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse, regardless of any personal connection or breach of trust here.”

Dylan Farrow had previously condemned the publication of her estranged father’s memoir, calling the decision to publish “deeply upsetting” and an “utter betrayal” of her brother Ronan.

In 2014, Farrow wrote an open letter for The New York Times detailing the alleged abuse she suffered at Allen’s hands. She had previously accused him of assaulting her in 1993, when she was eight, and said that the abuse occurred when she was seven. 

Dylan said she had never been contacted by fact-checkers to verify her father’s memoir. “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 said.

She added that the upcoming memoir “provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money and notoriety affords” and that Hachette should have to answer for its “complicity”. 

In 2018, Dylan filmed her first TV interview, in which she discussed her claim that her adoptive father had sexually assaulted her as a child. Asked why people should believe her, she responded: “I suppose that’s on them, but all I can do is speak my truth and hope that somebody will believe me, instead of just hearing.” 

Allen has always denied Dylan’s claims of abuse.

The Guardian reports that several publishers turned down Allen’s memoir, citing #MeToo concerns. However, a deal was reached with Hachette in March 2019.

“The book is a comprehensive account of his life, both personal and professional, and describes his work in films, theatre, television, nightclubs and print,” according to the publisher. “Allen also writes of his relationships with family, friends and the loves of his life.”

Dylan’s debut novel, Hush, billed as a “powerful feminist fantasy full of surprising insights” will be released by a division of Macmillan later this year.

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Jessica Rapana

Jessica Rapana is a journalist based in London, and enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content. She is especially fond of news, health, entertainment and travel content, and drinks coffee like a Gilmore Girl.

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