On Friday afternoon Hachette Book Group announced that it “has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir A Propos of Nothing…and will return all rights to the author.” The cancellation followed a protest from HBG employees on Thursday that drew international media attention.
The company noted in their statement that, “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.”
They also commented: “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.”
As we reported earlier today, Hachette divisions were planning to publish translations of Allen’s book in France and Spain. HBG had acquired world rights and sub-licensed the book in multiple territories; the translation rights also reverted to the author “who will decide what he wants to do [about] foreign editions.”
Earlier in the day, an anonymous HBG employee told a Refinery29 reporter, “I don’t think they expected us to be as angry as we are.”