After protests from Woody Allen’s estranged children, Ronan and Dylan Farrow, as well as an exodus of the publishing house’s staff members during a Thursday demonstration in New York, Hachette Book Group scrapped plans on Friday to release the filmmaker’s forthcoming memoir. Titled “Apropos of Nothing,” the book was slated for an April publication from Hachette’s Grand Central Publishing, but the outcry was immediate. As members of the film, publishing, and literary communities react online, author Stephen King tweeted on Friday about his “uneasy” feelings over the canceled book.
“The Hachette decision to drop the Woody Allen book makes me very uneasy. It’s not him; I don’t give a damn about Mr. Allen. It’s who gets muzzled next that worries me,” King tweeted. The gist of his argument is that regardless of where you stand on Allen and the accusations of child molestation and other controversies that have followed him throughout his career, censorship is an issue that runs deeper than this memoir. The book was intended to be a deep dive into a life and career from the man himself, including reveals about his professional and personal relationships.
Hachette’s statement read: “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.”
Throughout the week, the fallout of Hachette’s plans to publish the memoir was swift. Dozens of company employees walked out of the publishing house’s New York City offices on March 5. Dylan Farrow took to social media to slam Hachette’s decision to publish a book she called “deeply unsettling” and an “utter betrayal.” Ronan Farrow, meanwhile, cut ties with the publishing house, which owns Little, Brown and Company, the imprint behind his #MeToo investigative book “Catch and Kill.”
Following Hachette’s decision to drop the memoir, Dylan Farrow shared her thoughts on social media late Friday: “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.”
The Hachette decision to drop the Woody Allen book makes me very uneasy. It’s not him; I don’t give a damn about Mr. Allen. It’s who gets muzzled next that worries me.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) March 6, 2020
— Dylan Farrow (@RealDylanFarrow) March 6, 2020