Roald Dahl publisher removes word 'fat' from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' for 'inclusion'

February 19, 2023

Los Angeles, Feb 19 (Agency) : Editors at Penguin's children's imprint Puffin have taken a red pencil to the works of iconic, but divisive British writer Roald Dahl, known for "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Matilda", reports "Variety".

It cited an extensive report by UK newspaper 'The Telegraph', which says "language related to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race has been cut and rewritten".

In the 1964 novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", which has been adapted twice as films in 1971 and 2005, starring Gene Hackman and Johnny Depp respectively, for example, the phrase "enormously fat" has been edited to just "enormous".

As per 'Variety', the same phrase in the 1970 book "Fantastic Mr Fox", adapted as an animated film by Wes Anderson with a voice cast of George Clooney and Meryl Streep in 2009, has also been edited to "enormous".

The report compares the 2001 editions of Dahl's children's books to the 2022 editions and finds that the word "fat" has been systematically edited out, including in "The Enormous Crocodile", "James and the Giant Peach", "The Twits", and "The Witches".

Other examples of Puffin's editing include the description of Miss Trunchbull in "Matilda" altered from "most formidable female" to "most formidable woman"; The Oompa Loompas from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" changed from "small men" to "small people"; and "Bunce, the little pot-bellied dwarf" in "Fantastic Mr Fox" to just "Bunce".

Puffin and the Roald Dahl Story Company made the edits with Inclusive Minds, a collective that specialises in "inclusion and accessibility in children's literature," according to a spokesperson.

The report quotes the copyright page of Puffin's new editions of Dahl's books, saying: "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."


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