Brow Beat

Ronan Farrow Drops Publisher Over “Wildly Unprofessional” Decision to Publish Woody Allen’s Memoir

Ronan Farrow behind a podium with a red background.
Ronan Farrow onstage at the Peabody Awards in 2019. Mike Pont/Getty Images

Journalist and author Ronan Farrow announced his intention to cut ties with his publisher, Hachette Book Group, on Tuesday after news broke that one of its divisions will publish Woody Allen’s upcoming memoir, Apropos of Nothing. Farrow, whose reporting on accusations of sexual assault helped launch the #MeToo movement, harshly criticized Hachette’s decision to publish his father’s book, claiming it demonstrates “a lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse.”

Hachette’s announcement that it would publish Allen’s memoir came as a surprise, given that the book was rejected by multiple publishing houses last year over the allegations that Allen sexually abused his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, when she was a child. Allen has denied those accusations, but Ronan has publicly supported his sister, writing that he believes her and that “even at five years old, was troubled by our father’s strange behavior around her.” He added that “regardless of my personal connection,” Dylan’s accusation is “a credible allegation, maintained for almost three decades, backed up by contemporaneous accounts and evidence.”

In a statement published on Twitter on Tuesday evening, Dylan Farrow described the news as “deeply upsetting” and “an utter betrayal.” She also noted that she was not contacted by fact-checkers to verify any of the information in the book: “Yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money, and notoriety affords.” Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette, told the New York Times, “We do not allow anyone’s publishing program to interfere with anyone else’s,” and declined to comment on the fact-checking issue.

While the specifics of the book’s contents are not known, Hachette’s press release describes Apropos of Nothing as “a comprehensive account of Allen’s life, both personal and professional,” that details “his relationships with family, friends and the loves of his life.” It is slated for release on April 7. Hachette Book Group published Catch and Kill, Farrow’s account of his investigation into Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct, just last year.

Here’s Ronan Farrow’s full statement:

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. Hachette did not fact check the Woody Allen book. My sister Dylan has never been contacted to respond to any denial or mischaracterization of the abuse she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen—a credible allegation maintained for almost three decades, backed up by contemporaneous accounts and evidence. It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way. 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. I’ve 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. I’ve also told Hachette that a publisher that would conduct itself in this way is one I can’t work with in good conscience.

And the full statement from Dylan Farrow:

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. For the record, I was never contacted by any fact checkers to verify the information in this “memoir,” demonstrating an egregious abdication of Hachette’s most basic responsibility. On the other hand, my story has undergone endless scrutiny and has never been published without extensive fact checking. This provides yet another example of the profound privilege that power, money, and notoriety affords. Hachette’s complicity in this should be called out for what it is and they should have to answer for it.