Tag: controversy

Nothing Could Stop Woody Allen’s New Autobiography

Earlier in March, you may remember that Woody Allen’s upcoming autobiography, “Apropos of Nothing,” was scheduled be published in April 2020 by Hachette Book Group.  Due to employees staging a walkout in protest, Hachette cancelled the publication and returned the rights to Mr. Allen.  Some people agreed that it was necessary, but others said it was a form of censorship.

 

image via amazon

 

Despite this setback, Woody Allen has found another publication group willing to move forward with his book. Arcade Publishing snapped up his book and is releasing it on Monday, March 30, with a first print run of 75,000 copies despite the ongoing economic crisis occurring caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Within Allen’s autobiography, he addresses the controversies surrounding his life – his behavior toward women for one – including that towards his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow, who previously claimed he sexually abused her. Allen even includes a postscript about getting his book published in the first place, harshly condemning Hachette for abandoning him and his book.

 

“Hachette read the book and loved it despite me being toxic pariah and menace to society, they vowed to stand firm should things hit the fan.  When actual flak did arrive they thoughtfully reassessed their position, concluding that perhaps courage was not the virtue it was cracked up to be and there was a lot to be said for cowering.”

 

 

The sexual abuse claims against Allen are nothing to take lightly.  Mounting pressure against Hachette appears to have forced their hand.  Allen said that his book “would land somewhere because you can’t keep the truth bottled up forever.”  It’s questionable when he says that he has the truth, but is it really as absolute as he makes it sound?

Arcade Publishing called the book “a candid and comprehensive personal account by Woody Allen of his life, ranging from his childhood in Brooklyn through his acclaimed career in film, theater, television, print and standup comedy, as well as exploring his relationships with family and friends.”

 

image via adam bielawski on wikimedia commons

 

Jeannette Seaver, an editor who acquired the book, wanted to take a stance against the critics who condemned it.  She said that part of accepting the book and publishing it was to bring voice to a respected artist rather than cooperate with those trying to silence him.  Seaver made reference to Trump’s rhetoric when she said we are in “a strange time, when truth is too often dismissed as ‘fake news.'”

Publications seem to be weary of igniting huge controversies, possibly out of fear of alienating supporters or readers. Michael Pietsch, the chief executive of Hachette, originally defended the decision to publish Woody Allen’s book, but with the staged walkout of over 100 employees, the pressure led to the reversal of his plan.

 

People will now be able to read Allen’s autobiography as well as the news surrounding his questionable controversies and render their own verdict, according to Suzanne Nossel, the chief executive of the free-speech nonprofit PEN America, calling the situation “something of a perfect storm.”  “If the end result here is that this book, regardless of its merits, disappears without a trace, readers will be denied the opportunity to read it and render their own judgements.”

 

featured image via colin swan on flickr

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Hachette Controversy Update

You may recall our article from last week on the controversy over Hachette’s choice to publish a memoir from accused sexual abuser Woody Allen.

As of our last article, protests were merely hypothetical, but the book community did take a stand, and Hachette employees in New York and Boston even walked out in protest, according to the BBC.

Hachette’s initial reaction to objections from Allan’s own son, renown investigative journalist Ronan Farrow (see our original article for more on Farrow and his objections, as well as further background), was tepid at best, and even now, they have been reported as saying (see the BBC again), that they don’t cancel deals with authors lightly. Then again, many other publishers rejected Allen’s memoir outright, and Amazon canceled a four movie deal with the infamous director after the reemergence of abuse allegations.

The walk out, combined with apparent meetings with employees, seem to have convinced Hachette to cancel the book this week.

The memoir was set to come out in April, though announcement seems to have been delayed, and Farrow alleges the deal was hidden from him by the publisher, and the delay in announcement certainly pushed off protests, deliberately or not.

 

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Featured image via Fire

Investigative Journalist Calls Out Major Publisher Hachette

Renown Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow, has cut ties with that book’s publisher, Hachette (publisher behind imprints Grand Central, Little Brown, and many more), after the imprint’s controversial decision to publish a memoir written by his father, Woody Alan, who has many allegations against him for sexual assault of his adoptive daughters, both as adults and children. Read a concise breakdown of those allegations here. Farrow says in his announcement tweet (see below) that he is disappointed, especially in light of the fact that other major publishing houses have rejected the work, citing commercial risks in the age of #metoo.

Image via @RonanFarrow on Twitter

Farrow also states that Hachette has failed to fact check Allen’s book, which is corroborated by original accuser Dylan Farrow, who has also denounced Hachette, and says she has not been contacted about the book’s contents.

Hachette’s chief executive, Michael Pietsch, is quoted as saying “our job as a publisher is to help the author achieve what they have set out to do in the creation of their book,” while apparently failing to comment on the calls from Farrow for the memoir to be heavily fact checked.

It’s not just publishers, either. Many actors have refused to work on Allen’s films, and since allegations resurfaced, some who had worked with him have apologized, several even donating the pay they received to charities combating sexual abuse, including Rebecca Hall and Timothee Chalamet, according to Indie Wire.

Farrow also says that the acquiring and publishing of his adoptive father’s memoir was hidden from him while he was working on the publication of his own book, Catch and Kill, itself an exploration of how allegations of sexual assault and abuse, such as those against his father, are suppressed by the powerful individuals at whom they are leveled.

It’s not yet clear whether this publishing decision, or Farrow’s criticism, will lead to a boycott of Hachette and it’s imprints.

 

See our update on this story here.

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Featured image via the Los Angeles Times

‘The Woman in the Window’ Sparks Major Controversy

Dan Mallory’s thriller novel The Woman in the Window (written under pseudonym A.J. Finn) is headed to the big screen in May, spearheaded by English director Joe Wright. This won’t be Wright’s first rodeo when it comes to book adaptations; he is best known for his work directing Pride and Prejudice (2005), Atonement (2007)and Anna Karenina (2012)It is, however, the first to be met with severe criticism before even reaching the masses. Apparently, test audiences of the movie were left confused about the plot overall, forcing the crew into reshoots and a later release date than originally planned.

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

The film will star Amy Adams as Anna, an agoraphobic child psychologist who thinks she may have witnessed a violent crime while spying on her neighbors. If this plot sounds familiar, it’s probably because we’ve seen (and read) it countless times. “Unstable woman reports suspicious activity that no one believes due to her instability” has become something of a money-making formula (see: Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, The Woman in Cabin 10). While we love that courageous female protagonists are having a moment, we’re not particularly in love with this trope.

Aside from the severely overdone narrative, much of the controversy surrounding the upcoming film centers around debuting author of the bestseller, Dan Mallory. You know the little white lies most of us tell to get into college or get out of a long day at work? Mallory has been accused of, and admitted to, lying about the death of his mom and brother and his own battle with brain cancer. This vaguely echoes the social-climbing John Early character who fakes cancer for a book deal in the hilarious TBS hit Search Party. Mallory, however, claims that his lies about physical health battles were to protect a very real struggle with mental illness. Whatever the case may be, Mallory’s overnight success remains impressive.

IMAGE VIA LA TIMES

Sometimes we just need to enjoy things for what they are, and with a star-studded cast and famed director, this is sure to be entertaining at the very least. If you’re a fan of female-lead thrillers, scoop up a copy of The Woman in the Window before you catch the film in May.

Featured image via Slash Film 


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Book Tour Canceled Due to Criticism

American Dirt, a novel that Oprah immediately claimed as part of her book club, is now causing an uproar. The author, Jeanine Cummins, is facing criticism for her stereotypical depictions of Mexicans. So, for Cummins’ safety, her publisher had to cancel the reminder of her book tour.

Image via Amazon

 

The novel is about a Mexican woman and her son, and how they flee to the U.S Boarder. Before the controversy the book was widely praised, even before its January 21 release. Then Mexican American writers began to criticize Cummins, who is of Irish and Puerto Rican descent, for the way she stereotyped the characters. According to her Publisher at Flatiron, Cummins spent the past five years writing this book and they’re saddened by the backlash, because Cummins had good intentions for this work of fiction. Now her book tour is cut, and even before it was cut, Cummins already did some promotional work, but a Saint Louis based Bank Books canceled an event, and others, including California stores canceled their events as well.  However, despite the backlash Cummins is facing, her novel is still doing quite well. It is number 8 on the Amazon best seller list.

Image result for jeanine cummins"
Image via NBC News

 

Even though her tour is canceled, Cummins still has one more interview left. She has a major interview with Oprah this month that will air on Apple TV in March. Her interview is the third one chosen by Oprah to air on the streaming service. Oprah picked the book last fall for her book club, before the criticism arose, and according to Oprah, she hears the Latinx community and understands their concerns, and by meeting with Cummins she can get a better understanding from both sides.


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Featured image via CBS Baltimore