Charles Spencer has criticized the ‘bizarre’ decision to modify parts of Roald Dahl’s works to make them more ‘acceptable’ to readers, arguing that it risks removing the author’s character.
Speaking on Radio 4 news program Broadcasting House, the brother of the late Princess Diana argued author Dahl was a ‘famously aggressive man’ after he woke up in the row.
Publisher Penguin sparked controversy this week when it emerged that it hired sensitivity writers to remove language that could be offensive to modern-day readers.
Penguin said it was making edits, which included cutting out words that described the characters as ‘ugly’ and making Willy Wonka’s Oompa Loompas gender neutral, so that the books could ‘still be enjoyed by everyone today’.
But a range of writers, politicians and parents have criticized the ‘ridiculous’ decision, prompting Penguin to confirm it will still publish original works as part of its Classics collection.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Earl Spencer, 58, hit out at those who censored Dahl’s books.
He said: ‘I find it all quite bizarre because if Roald Dahl has offensive material, he was a famously offensive person and so you are chopping off the character of the author.
‘Those who are now republishing the old version would really be making a killing.’
Dahl, who died in 1990, was reportedly an obnoxious and rude man who was outspoken in his anti-Semitic views.
She was also heavily criticized for the gender and racial stereotypes that appeared in her books, which led to some being rewritten while she was alive.
In particular, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was edited to remove a reference to the Oompa Loompas as ‘African midgets’ in 1974 over allegations of racism.
Dahl fans will still be able to purchase unedited versions of the works as well as newer, more sensitive versions.
Some of the changes include substantial edits to the description of the characters’ physical appearance – the new editions no longer use the word ‘fat’ which has reportedly been cut from every book.
READ MORE: Camilla speaks out against censorship of Roald Dahl’s books – as authors including Richard Osman tell writers not to ‘let anyone curb your freedom of expression or limit your imagination’ in speech
Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can now only be described as ‘giant’.
Hundreds of changes were made to the original texts, eliminating Dahl’s colorful and memorable descriptions, making his characters less likeable.
Mrs Twit’s ‘terrible ugliness’ is cut down to ‘ugliness’ and Mrs Hoppy in Asio Trott is not a ‘charming middle-aged lady’ but a ‘kind middle-aged lady’.
Writers such as Salman Rushdie criticized these reports, and even Queen Consort Camilla appeared to line up as she told writers not to be ‘influenced by those who seek to curb your freedom of expression’ Or want to impose your limits. Imagination.’
Earl Spencer is seen at BBC Broadcasting House in London on Sunday after accepting that he would not attend King Charles’ coronation.
Princess Diana’s brother, who lives at Althorp House in Northamptonshire, appeared in good spirits to appear on Radio 4 to talk about Roald Dahl.
Charles wore a navy suit, which he paired with a white shirt, carrying a brown bag.
As well as addressing Roald Dahl, he also hit out at cancel culture on the show: ‘Cancel culture is terrible for so many people.’
It comes after he recently admitted he probably won’t be invited to King Charles’ coronation On Jane Garvey and Fi Glover’s Times Radio Podcast, Off Air.
When asked about whether he would be invited to the event, the writer replied: ‘I would not have thought so, I think only two thousand people are going.
‘Some old crown is knocking around here but I won’t be wearing it anytime soon, I don’t think’.
However, the uncle of Prince William and Prince Harry didn’t seem too bothered by not being invited to the royal event.
He admitted: ‘The whole royal thing… I don’t find it as interesting as other people, you know? I just get on with my life… People assume that I care a lot but that is just one aspect of my life.’
King Charles’s coronation takes place on 6 May, with ‘save the date’ notices for guests this week and official invitations expected to arrive in April.
And while the guest list has been whittled down from the 8,000 who attended the late Queen’s coronation in 1953, to 2,000, there is one area the King has expanded.
The purpose of the sacred ceremony is to create an intimate exchange between the king and his people in the presence of God.
But as part of his plans to update the ceremony, King Charles has decided to forego the 900-year-old tradition by inviting his coronation friends, including European royals and rulers of Arab states.
It is still uncertain whether Prince Harry will attend the occasion from his home in California with his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.