Publisher cancels Woody Allen’s memoir after outcry

Dozens of employees of a Hachette subsidiary in New York staged a walkout on Thursday to protest the company’s decision to publish Woody Allen’s (picture) memoir. (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: A leading publisher said Friday it had decided not to release the autobiography of Woody Allen, who has long been accused of molesting his daughter, following an outcry and a staff walkout.

Hachette’s announcement came after Allen’s son Ronan Farrow, who has been very critical of his father, denounced the book group over “Apropos of Nothing,” originally scheduled to hit shelves next month.

“The decision to cancel Mr Allen’s book was a difficult one,” a spokeswoman for Hachette said in a statement emailed to AFP, adding it would return rights to the author.

The spokeswoman said executives at Hachette Book Group had engaged in “extensive conversations” with staff and others in the past few days.

“After listening, we came to the conclusion that moving forward with publication would not be feasible for HBG.”

Allegations that Allen molested his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow when she was seven years old in the early 1990s has dogged the Oscar-winning filmmaker for decades.

The 84-year-old director of “Annie Hall” and “Manhattan” was cleared of the charges, first leveled by his then-partner Mia Farrow, after two separate months-long investigations, and has consistently denied the abuse.

But Dylan, now an adult, maintains she was molested.

On Thursday, dozens of employees of a Hachette subsidiary in New York staged a walkout in protest at the company’s decision to publish the memoir.

“We stand in solidarity with Ronan Farrow, Dylan Farrow, and survivors of sexual assault,” Grand Central Publishing said a statement.

Ronan Farrow said Tuesday he would no longer work with Hachette, whose subsidiary Little, Brown and Company published his best-selling account of the investigation into disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, “Catch and Kill.”

Ronan has long defended his sister Dylan, who renewed her accusations against Allen in the wake of the #MeToo movement in early 2018.

Dylan said she was “unbelievably overwhelmed and so incredibly grateful for the solidarity demonstrated by @HachetteUS and @littlebrown employees” on Thursday.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you,” she tweeted.

On Monday, Dylan said Hachette’s decision to publish Allen’s autobiography was “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.”

Grand Central Publishing initially planned to release “Apropos of Nothing” in the United States on April 7.

It had described it as “a comprehensive account of his life, both personal and professional.”

As recently as Tuesday, Hachette chief executive Michael Pietsch defended the decision to publish the director’s autobiography, telling The New York Times there was “a large audience” who wanted to hear Allen’s story.