Publisher Drops Woody Allen Memoir After Employee Walkout

Hachette Book Group announced on Friday that the company will not be publishing director Woody Allen's forthcoming memoir, Apropos of Nothing, following an employee walkout.

On Thursday, Hachette employees walked out of the office in a show of solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Allen's estranged son, who announced days earlier that he would no longer be working with the company. Farrow's 2019 book Catch and Kill—which details Farrow's journalistic investigation into Harvey Weinstein—was published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette. In his announcement, Farrow criticized Hachette for publishing Catch and Kill, and then allowing a different division to publish his father's memoir, given the fact that Farrow's sister, Dylan Farrow, has been very outspoken about allegations that Allen molested her when she was a child.

The walkout included employees from Little, Brown and Company and also Grand Central Publishing, the imprint that was set to release Allen's book.

"Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen's memoir A Propos of Nothing, originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author," Hachette said in a statement given to Newsweek. The publisher explained that the decision came after discussions with staff.

"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. 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."

woody allen
American film director Woody Allen attends a Press Conference at Kursaal auditorium to talk about the new film he is filming in San Sebastian on July 09, 2019 in San Sebastian, Spain. Allen's publisher dropped his memoir on Friday. Gari Garaialde/Getty

Farrow's announcement on Tuesday, that he was severing ties with Hachette, came hours after his sister Dylan Farrow called out the publisher for working with Allen. "I was disappointed to learn through press reports that Hachette, my publisher, acquired Woody Allen's memoir," Farrow wrote in his statement, "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 also echoed his sister Dylan's insistence that she was not contacted by fact checkers for the book. Dylan Farrow has alleged for years that Allen, her adoptive father, molested her when she was 7 years old. Allen has repeatedly denied the allegations, which have received renewed attention in recent years, amid the #MeToo movement.

Dylan Farrow's statement on Monday called the decision to publish the memoir a "betrayal" of her brother's work. "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," she wrote.

Updated, 3/6, 4:42 p.m. EST: This story has been updated to include a statement from Hachette, which was received after publication.