Woody Allen’s Publisher Threatens To Sue HBO Over Disturbing New Documentary
American Film Institute's 45th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Diane Keaton - Fixed Show HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 08: Director-actor Woody Allen speaks onstage during American Film Institute's 45th Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute to Diane Keaton at Dolby Theatre on June 8, 2017 in Hollywood, California. 26658_007 (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The imprint behind director Woody Allen’s 2020 memoir is reportedly considering a lawsuit against HBO over its new documentary series, “Allen v. Farrow.”

The four-part series debuted on Sunday on HBO and reportedly demonstrates the filmmaker’s years of child abuse. Skyhorse Publishing is claiming that the filmmakers sampled the audio version of Allen’s book, “Apropos of Nothing,” without their permission.

The president of Skyhorse, Tony Lyons, said in a statement on Monday to the Los Angeles Times, “Neither the producers nor HBO ever approached Skyhorse to request permission to use excerpts from the audiobook.”

Lyons added, “Skyhorse received information second hand only at the very end of last week that each of the documentary’s four episodes makes extensive use of audiobook excerpts … [W]e believe that its unauthorized use of the audiobook is clear, willful infringement under existing legal precedent, and that the other episodes will infringe, too, if they appropriate the audiobook in a similar manner. … We will take the legal action we deem necessary to redress our and Woody Allen’s rights in his intellectual property.”

On Monday, the filmmakers who created “Allen v. Farrow” told The Times in a statement via HBO that they “legally used limited audio excerpts from Woody Allen’s memoir in the series under the Fair Use doctrine,” which according to the United States Copyright Office, “promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances…”

The series reportedly depicts Woody Allen sexually abusing his adopted daughter, Dylan Farrow.

The Daily Wire reports,

A never-before-seen 1992 home video is reportedly part of the docuseries; in it, Dylan Farrow is allegedly heard as a seven-year-old, telling her mother that Allen “touched her private parts” as he told her, “’Do not move, I have to do this.” The young girl then poignantly tells her mother, “I didn’t want him to do it, mama. I didn’t like it.”

The series will “feature recordings that Mia secretly made of her phone conversations with Allen, including one in which she tells him Dylan ‘is not alright’ after the alleged incident,” the Daily Mail reported. 

Allen and Mia Farrow are no longer together, having broken up after she discovered Allen was having an affair with her adopted daughter from a previous marriage, Soon-Yi Previn. Previn was 21 when she was having an affair with Allen, 55.

Soon-Yi Previn and Allen are now married, and released a joint statement on Sunday, saying:

“These documentarians had no interest in the truth. Instead, they spent years surreptitiously collaborating with the Farrows and their enablers to put together a hatchet job riddled with falsehoods. Woody and Soon-Yi were approached less than two months ago and given only a matter of days ‘to respond.’ Of course, they declined to do so.”

“As has been known for decades, these allegations are categorically false,” the pair continued. “Multiple agencies investigated them at the time and found that, whatever Dylan Farrow may have been led to believe, absolutely no abuse had ever taken place. It is sadly unsurprising that the network to air this is HBO — which has a standing production deal and business relationship with Ronan Farrow. While this shoddy hit piece may gain attention, it does not change the facts.”

In a 2017 op-ed for The Times, Dylan Farrow wrote, “It is a testament to Allen’s public relations team and his lawyers that few know these simple facts. It also speaks to the forces that have historically protected men like Allen: the money and power deployed to make the simple complicated, to massage the story.”

Allen’s memoir was released in March 2020 and was reportedly picked up by Skyhorse after Hachette Book Group canceled its release.

Hachette allegedly decided to cancel Allen’s book after receiving pressure from Ronan Farrow, investigative journalist and Allen’s son. In 2019, Hachette published “Catch and Kill” by Ronan Farrow, which details the writer’s journey of uncovering stories about Harvey Weinstein’s own decades of sexual abuse.

After securing a critical interview in the Weinstein investigation, Ronan Farrow reportedly solicited advice on how to conduct himself from his adopted sister, Dylan, who had already been accusing Allen of abuse for years.

“Well, this is the worst part,” Dylan told him, according to The New York Times. “The considering. The waiting for the story.” She continued: “If you get this, don’t let it go, O.K.?”

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