The ongoing controversy over the decision by Puffin, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, to censor new editions of Roald Dahl books has taken another dystopian twist, with owners of Roald Dahl ebooks reporting that their copies have been automatically updated to the new, woke versions.
The publisher’s decision to airbrush Roald Dahl children’s books with woke language, with altered texts including classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The BFG has attracted widespread outrage, particularly in Great Britain.
Breitbart News Jack Montgomery reports on some of the changes:
One passage from The Witches reading “Even if she is working as a cashier in a supermarket or typing letters for a businessman” is contorted into “Even if she is working as a top scientist or running a business” — with the real world existence of female cashiers and secretaries with male bosses apparently being considered beyond the pale.
Paleness, meanwhile, is in itself also considered controversial, as is the lack of it: references to being “White in the face”, “white as paper”, and “turning white” are changed to avoid the word “white” or removed altogether, while a simple description of two machines in Fantastic Mister Fox as “black” is excised.
Countless references to ugliness and fatness are also removed — “fat little brown mouse” becoming “little brown mouse” and Mrs Twit no longer being “ugly” — along with references to females being “pretty”.
References to a “Mrs Silver” becoming “Mrs Hoppy” are also removed, so the poor woman does not have to take her husband’s surname.
The Times of London is now reporting that customers who own digital versions of Roald Dahl books are having the new, woke changes forced upon them, with updates to the ebooks that they cannot opt out of.
One reader who works in children’s publishing told the Times that her ebooks had been altered without her consent.
“It feels Orwellian that we are having the updated versions forced upon us and has made me weary of ebooks. I assumed that because the changes to the work were so big that I would be given the option of whether to download it.”
The Telegraph reported that Puffin made the decision to censor Dahl’s books in conjunction with an organization called Inclusive Minds, which describes itself as a “collective for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s literature.”
Prominent figures including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and even Queen Consort Camilla have waded into the debate, with the latter telling authors to “remain true to your calling, unimpeded by those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination.”
A spokesperson for PM Sunak said, “it is important that works of literature, works of fiction, are preserved and not airbrushed.”
Bestselling authors including Salman Rushdie, author of Midnight’s Children, and Phillip Pullman of His Dark Materials fame have also condemned the censorship.
As outrage mounted, Puffin backpedaled on its decision, saying it would continue to sell Dahl’s original works alongside the new, woke editions. As of last Monday, an uncensored collection of Dahl’s books was at the number two spot for children’s books on Amazon — just behind the Harry Potter collection.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. He is the author of #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election.
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