Yet as he worked on the book for months, he had no idea Hachette was also secretly in talks with Allen to publish his memoir next month, he said Tuesday on Twitter.
Farrow, who writes for the New Yorker, accused Hachette of concealing the book deal from him and also of failing to fact-check Allen’s memoir against his sister’s accusations of sexual abuse. Because of the publisher’s behavior, he said he could no longer work with Hachette “in good conscience.”
“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 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 wrote.
Grand Central Publishing, a Hachette imprint, announced Monday that it would publish the filmmaker’s autobiography, titled, “Apropos of Nothing,” in April. The publisher described it as a “comprehensive account of Woody Allen’s life, both personal and professional,” and says Allen also “writes of his relationships with family, friends, and the loves of his life.”
Allen had trouble selling his memoir to a publisher as the #MeToo movement exploded throughout 2018, resurfacing Dylan Farrow’s allegations that he molested her, leaving Allen shunned in Hollywood and beyond. The New York Times reported in May 2019 that Allen had been turned away by four major publishing houses during the course of a year.
Dylan Farrow immediately condemned Hachette’s decision to provide Allen the platform he sought.
“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 in a Monday statement released on Twitter.
Both she and Ronan Farrow said the publisher failed to fact-check the filmmaker’s book. Dylan noted she had never been contacted by anyone to verify information in the memoir pertaining to her — especially given the scrutiny applied to her own account of sexual abuse over the past three decades. She said her account has “never been published without extensive fact-checking.”
Ronan Farrow said he has encouraged Hachette, “out of respect for its readers, authors and reputation,” to “conduct a thorough fact check of Woody Allen’s account, in particular any claim that implies my sister is not telling the truth.”
“It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way,” he wrote. “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.”
Spokespeople for Hachette and its imprints — Grand Central and Little, Brown and Company, which published “Catch and Kill” — could not immediately be reached for comment early Wednesday morning.
But Hachette’s chief executive, Michael Pietsch, told the New York Times that its imprints don’t interfere with each other editorially. Before Farrow’s statement, the Times had obtained emails the journalist sent to Pietsch accusing him and Hachette of “betrayal” in its decision to publish Allen’s memoir, echoing the public statements released by him and Dylan Farrow this week.
“We do not allow anyone’s publishing program to interfere with anyone else’s,” Pietsch told the Times. He added that Grand Central believed there was a “large audience” wanting to hear Allen’s life story and “our job as a publisher is to help the author achieve what they have set out to do in the creation of their book.” He had no comment on the fact-checking critiques by Ronan and Dylan Farrow.
In his journalistic work, Ronan Farrow has focused on powerful men who escape consequences in the face of sexual abuse allegations. In October 2017, he published a blockbuster story in the New Yorker detailing sexual assault allegations against Weinstein over his decades-long career, which helped create the #MeToo movement as hundreds of women came forward to share their own stories. The New Yorker shared the Pulitzer Prize for public service with the New York Times for their work on the Weinstein story.
In “Catch and Kill,” Farrow recounts how he chased the story, starting at NBC News, where he says the story was shut down, to the New Yorker. While interviewing Weinstein’s accusers, Farrow revealed in the book that he sought guidance from his sister, Dylan, about how to talk to someone who’s “accusing a very powerful person of a very serious crime.”
It’s unclear to what extent Allen intends to address Dylan Farrow’s allegations in his memoir. Spokespeople had declined to multiple news outlets to explain the contents of the memoir in more detail.