Roald Dahl books edited to remove “offensive language”



Puffin Books and the Roald Dahl Story Company, in partnership with Inclusive Minds, have made the decision to edit new editions of beloved children’s author Roald Dahl’s books in an attempt to make them more inclusive and eliminate any “offensive language” in his stories. 

A variety of specific word changes were made in the 2022 editions. For example, every use of the words “fat” and “ugly” was replaced. One of the most notable instances of this is in one of his famous stories, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Augustus Gloop is now described as “enormous” instead of “fat”.

Another example in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the characterization of the Oompa Loompas. While in the original publication they are referred to as a group of “small men,” they are now described as “small people” to be more gender-inclusive. This is not the first time the description of the Oompa Loompas has been edited — about a decade after its original publication, their characterization as an African Pygmy tribe forced to work for Wonka was removed. Small edits were also made to the precise language of characters in other books, including James and the Giant Peach and Matilda.

According to The Guardian, new editions of Dahl’s books include a note from the publisher on the copyright page communicating that language may have been changed to ensure that “it can continue to be enjoyed by all today.”

This is not the first attempt to create inclusivity in children’s books. Most notably, last March, Dr. Seuss Enterprises ceased publication of multiple Dr. Seuss books due to claims of racist imagery. For example, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street included a drawing of a white man holding a whip above a black man.

While Dahl’s books were edited rather than being removed from publication entirely, some view changes in the name of inclusivity as censorship. 

“Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship,” said author Salman Rushdie on Twitter. “Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”