Stephen King condemns Hachette Book Group for dropping Woody Allen memoir: 'Muzzling' people worries me

Author Stephen King condemned Hachette Book Group for dropping the Woody Allen memoir amid amounting pressure, saying the decision makes him feel "very uneasy."

Hachette announced on Friday that it would not be releasing the film director's book following a staged walkout from the publisher's employees and condemnation from "Catch and Kill" author Ronan Farrow.

"Hachette Book Group has decided that it will not publish Woody Allen’s memoir 'A Propos of Nothing,' originally scheduled for sale in April 2020, and will return all rights to the author," the publisher said in a statement to Fox News. "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."

That statement continued, "Also, as a company, 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."

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King took to Twitter on Friday evening to express his concern about the precedent the incident sets.

"The Hachette decision to drop the Woody Allen book makes me very uneasy. It's not him; I don't give a damn about Mr. Allen. It's who gets muzzled next that worries me," King tweeted.

He added, "Once you start, the next one is always easier."

Farrow, on the other hand, embraced Hachette's decision.

"I'm grateful to all the Hachette employees and authors who spoke up and to the company for listening," Farrow tweeted.

The uproar against Hachette began soaring when Ronan Farrow, son of Woody Allen and actress Mia Farrow, blasted his own publisher on Tuesday for pursing the film director's memoir.

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“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,” Farrow said in a statement posted on his social media accounts.

“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,” Farrow continued. “It’s wildly unprofessional in multiple obvious directions for Hachette to behave this way.”

On Thursday, at least 75 Hachette employees staged a walkout to express solidarity with the Farrows.

Farrow has long sided with his mother and siblings amid a series of accusations against the filmmaker. He said the publisher’s actions show “a lack of ethics and compassion for victims of sexual abuse” and called for the company to meticulously examine Allen’s claims.

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“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,” Farrow said. ”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.”

The “Manhattan” director was accused of molesting his adopted daughter, Dylan, when she was 7. She recounted the allegations in a 2014 essay for The New York Times, as well as in an interview with "CBS This Morning" in 2018. Allen has denied the accusations.

Ronan Farrow’s reporting on Harvey Weinstein and other men accused of sexual misconduct has been widely praised. NBC News famously refused to air his explosive reporting on the now-convicted sex offender Weinstein, but The New Yorker jumped at the opportunity to publish the story and won the Pulitzer Prize. “Catch and Kill” details Farrow’s theories on why NBC passed on the report.

New York, NY- October 4: Catch and Kill author Ronan Farrow in New York City on October 4, 2019. (Credit: Mary Inhea Kang for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

New York, NY- October 4: Catch and Kill author Ronan Farrow in New York City on October 4, 2019. (Credit: Mary Inhea Kang for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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Back in May, The New York Times reported that Allen “quietly tried to sell a memoir” but was “met with indifference or hard passes” amid the #MeToo movement changing the way accusations are treated.

“With his career all but derailed by resurfaced allegations that he molested his daughter Dylan Farrow nearly three decades ago — allegations that Allen denies and that have left Americans unsure whom to believe — the prospect of publishing his memoir seems to hold little appeal,” the Times wrote. “Some publishing executives used the word ‘toxic’ when describing the challenges of working with Allen in the current environment, noting that while he remains a significant cultural figure, the commercial risks of releasing a memoir by him were too daunting.”

Fox News' Brian Flood, Kathleen Joyce and The Associated Press contributed to this report.