Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Woody Allen a victim of cancel culture

So now, Woody Allen’s new autobiography, Apropos of Nothing, will not be published. Thanks a lot Hachette, the publishing group that had been all set to release the book April 7. I was so anticipating it I was thinking of pre-ordering it. Not because Allen is an icon and, well, an acting, directing and comic genius, but, you know, because I’m dying to read his response to all the allegations thrown against him by one part of his family that he molested his daughter Dylan Farrow, when she was seven years old. We’ve all heard the other side of the story – the allegations ex-wife Mia Farrow and son Ronan Farrow, who has risen to extreme prominence in recent years (justifiably so) for his investigative reporting on sexual abuse by people in high places like Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. His book Catch and Kill is a bestseller. But when it was announced that a Hachette imprint was publishing Allen’s new book, Farrow announced he was cutting ties with the same publishing company. Dylan Farrow also denounced the publisher for not fact checking the book. Woody Allen has always vehemently denied the allegations and in fact a legal investigation found no substance to them. After the Ronan and Dylan social media outrage, a walkout by about 75 staff at Hachette’s Manhattan offices took place, condemning their employer for publishing the book. Guess what then shortly happened? Hachette, with all the spine of a wavering jelly dish, cancelled publication. There are several points of principle here. First, regardless of who is right in this alleged sexual assault controversy, why would someone like Ronan Farrow, supposedly a journalist of high integrity who believes in the First Amendment, want to stamp out a book? Second, the employees at Hachette should be ashamed of themselves. They work for a publishing company, the very idea of which is to publish material in an environment of freedom of expression. I hope some other publisher will now take the book on and I will be among the first in line to buy it. Allen should also take legal action for breach of contract against the cowering Hachette.

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