Tag: metoo

Medusa Stands Guard For Snakes at the Manhattan Supreme Court

A 1,000 pound bronze statue of mythological rape survivor and feared petrifier of men, Medusa, was unveiled this past Tuesday as a tribute to the #metoo movement and as a powerful statement on justice.

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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

You Need to Read this Woman’s Experience at Uber

CW: Sexual harassment

In an article by Time, former Uber software engineer Susan Fowler opens up about her blog post describing the sexual harassment she faced while working at the company. Her report came after a manager was talking about sex on an open chat in the company app. Fowler took a screenshot of the conversation and reported it to HR. After her blog post, which can be read here, Fowler published a book called Whistleblower, detailing her fight for justice in the events during and after working at Uber.

 

image via time

 

To make matters worse, Fowler experienced constant harassment outside of work after she reported the sexual harassment. She found out people were digging for information about her, even going so far as to follow her. Fowler was told by friends and family that they were being asked by strange people about her, some that Fowler hadn’t been in contact with since she was a teenager. It’s really disturbing.

 

 

Fowler notes that eventually, private investigators were trying to get in touch with her. Fowler received a call from someone she didn’t know but decided to answer it. On the other side was a woman claiming to be working on a case against Uber, and she wanted Fowler to help her. Fowler declined and did her own research. It turned out that the woman worked for a firm that was hired for past cases working to discredit victims of sexual misconduct!

 

Fowler also notes instances of her social media being hacked, her phone ringing constantly to alert her, her email being hacked and combed through, and her sister’s accounts being hacked into. Although not directly correlated, it seems that Uber was retaliating against Fowler for speaking up, but she persevered.

 

 

 

In an interview with NPR News, Fowler speaks with David Greene about what happened after she filed the report. Fowler describes that the work culture was toxic, full of misogyny, bullying, and harassment. She’s had what she calls, “surreal encounters with an HR department that refused to take action.” She noticed a culture of destruction and rule-breaking, and was often yelled or berated at during meetings.

 

It’s really disgusting to think that this happens in workplaces, but it’s important to know that change can occur, which is what happened after Fowler left. The company’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, along with twenty other employees, were fired after investigations were held.

 

image via amazon

 

If you’d like to read about Fowler’s experience (and you should!), you can get her book on Amazon, linked just above.

 


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