Headline RoundupFebruary 22nd, 2023

Roald Dahl Revisions: ‘Regular’ Inclusivity Changes or ‘Absurd’ Censorship?

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A decision to edit Roald Dahl’s famous children’s books to make some language more inclusive has stirred controversy across the political spectrum. 

For Context: According to The Telegraph (Lean Right bias), publisher Puffin Books and copyright manager Roald Dahl Story Company decided to edit “hundreds” of words in the latest edition of Dahl’s works to be more inclusive regarding “weight, mental health, violence, gender, and race.” For instance, “fat” is changed to “enormous,” and some character descriptions are altered to be gender-neutral. 

Key Quotes: Writer Salman Rushdie tweeted, “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship. Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.” Within the revised editions, a note from the publisher states, “This book was written many years ago, and so we regularly review the language to ensure that it can continue to be enjoyed by all today.” A statement from the Roald Dahl Story Company said it was “not unusual to review the language used,” adding, “Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text. Any changes made have been small and carefully considered.”

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was widespread across the spectrum, with articles generally covering both sides of the issue. Left-rated outlets were somewhat more likely to mention accusations of antisemitism against Dahl. Some coverage from the right displayed hostility toward the revisions by highlighting critics’ arguments and saying “sensitive” or “woke” editors had “scrubbed” Dahl’s “beloved” books.

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