Hachette Book Group has canceled the release of a Woody Allen memoir in the wake of criticism from Allen’s son, Ronan Farrow, his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, and employees of the publisher.
Ronan Farrow recently published his own book, Catch and Kill, through Hatchette. After learning that the publisher had acquired the rights to Allen’s memoir, Ronan said he would be ending his relationship with Hatchette.
In a statement released earlier this week, Ronan said he “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.”
Ronan’s adopted sister, Dylan, has accused Allen of molesting her when she was a child. Ronan criticized Hatchette for failing 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 wrote. “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.”
As a result, Ronan said he could no longer work with Hatchette “in good conscience.”
In her own statement, Dylan described Hachette’s decision to publish Allen’s memoir as “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.”
On Thursday, upwards of 75 employees of Hatchette staged a walkout in protest of Allen’s memoir. “We stand in solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault,” the employees said in a statement.
By Friday, Hatchette reversed course and said it would no longer be publishing Allen’s memoir. “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 said in a statement.
“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. 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.”
After learning of Hatchette’s decision, Dylan Farrow expressed her gratitude to “each and every individual who, at great professional risk to themselves, stood in solidarity with my brother, myself, and all victims of sexual abuse yesterday: words will never describe the debt of gratitude I owe to you.
“For someone who has felt alone in my story for so long, yesterday was a profound reminder of what a difference can be made when people stand and unite together for what’s right. Thank you so very much.”
My statement on the disappointing and, frankly shocking, news from @HachetteUS today. pic.twitter.com/h0zuAi0T7l
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) March 3, 2020
To all the employees of @HachetteUS, @littlebrown, and @GrandCentralPub who took a stand, I’m in awe and so very grateful. pic.twitter.com/Si4oXpudde
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) March 6, 2020