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An Author’s Classic Children’s Books Have Been Subject to ‘Woke’ Censorship

Last year, Townhall covered how a new theater production portrays St. Joan of Arc as “non-binary.” Joan of Arc, a Catholic saint, was a French woman burned at the stake in 1431 at age 19. Now, she’s the patron saint of female soldiers. This attempt to rewrite Joan of Arc to be “woke” sparked backlash. 

A few months later, a writer for The New York Times came forward claiming that Louisa May Alcott, the writer of Little Women, identified as “transgender” long before it became a word in the English language. 

Now, some are taking it a step further and are rewriting classic children’s books that have been deemed “offensive.”

This week, reports broke that Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda,” “James and the Giant Peach,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” and others were edited to omit words deemed to be offensive. 

According to NPR, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in particular received many edits, including gender-neutral terms for the Oompa Loompas: 

The character Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is no longer called "fat." Instead he is described as "enormous," The Telegraph reports.

Instead of being called "small men," Oompa-Loompas are now "small people," the article says.

Further, the changes to these books include adding language not originally written by Dahl. In his 1983 book The Witches, he writes that witches are bald beneath their wigs. According to The Telegraph, an added line in new editions says, "There are plenty of other reasons why women might wear wigs and there is certainly nothing wrong with that."

CNN pointed out that an organization called “Inclusive Minds” provided “sensitivity readers” to work on the edits. The organization reportedly describes itself as "a collective for people who are passionate about inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children's literature, and are committed to changing the face of children's books."

In an interview with Daily Mail, the former child actor who played Augustus Gloop in the 1971 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” said that there’s “nothing harmful” about the language in Dahl’s book.

“I don’t think this chocolate factory story was politically incorrect at all,” the actor, Michael Böllner, now 64, said. Böllner lives in Germany.

“Down here in Bavaria, we are used to people making jokes at us a little, and we are kind of very well known for being very fond of all our traditional food and that’s ok,” he explained. “It is really fine. So I don’t have feeling like it was cruel or politically incorrect or anything.”

Being on set, Böllner added “never made me sad or anything like this, really on the contrary.”

“So from my point of view it is really fine I think – fine with the book and story, and I definitely don’t think it has to be rewritten at all,” he clarified.

Award-winning author Salman Rushdie slammed Puffin Books on Twitter for editing Dahl's classic books.

“Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship,” he wrote. “Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”

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