Apropos of something: Four days after Hachette Book Group announced that it will publish Woody Allen’s memoir, Apropos of Nothing, the publisher has decided it will not move forward with the book. Instead, all rights will be returned to Allen. Apropos of Nothing was due to be published in the United States in April 2020; Allen had reportedly been quietly pitching the book to publishers in the spring of 2019, with none agreeing to publish it, and a few declining to even read the manuscript. Hachette’s reversal comes after the publisher was lambasted by Ronan Farrow and members of its own staff protested the book’s publication on Thursday. The staffers said they “stand with Ronan and Dylan Farrow and survivors of sexual assault.”
In a statement, Hachette Book Group said “the decision to cancel Mr. Allen’s book was a difficult one.” See the full statement below:
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.
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.
Ronan Farrow’s book Catch and Kill was published by Hachette; the author announced that he would cut ties with the publisher based on their decision to publish Allen’s memoir without being it being fact-checked. “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,” Farrow wrote in a statement released earlier this week. He added that “it’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way.” Publishers Weekly first reported the news.
Update Friday evening: Ronan Farrow a tweeted a thank you to Hachette employees and authors, as well as the publisher itself, following the memoir’s withdrawal.
Dylan Farrow followed suit, praising “each and every individual who, at great professional risk to themselves, stood in solidarity with my brother, myself, and with all victims of sexual assault yesterday: words will never describe the debt of gratitude I owe to you” in a Twitter post.