The latest editions of Roald Dahl’s children’s books have been edited to remove language which could be deemed offensive.
A number of reports have suggested that references within the classic children’s books relating to weight, mental health, violence, gender and race have been cut and rewritten.
But the move has been criticised, with GB News presenter Nana Akua calling it a “butchering” of the English language.
Speaking on her Saturday afternoon show, Nana said: “This woke sanitisation and in many cases downright butchery of the English Language has to stop.”
Roald Dahl is considered one of the nation’s favourite authors and his stories continue to be beloved by children around the world PA
She added: “The more I think about it, the less funny it becomes. Because there’s actually a sinister edge to this when authors whom the world hold in high regard and who’s work in my view should never be tampered with, are being sanitised by someone, somewhere to make their work supposedly more palatable to a woke wallflower minority, who rather than sidestepping books written with perfectly normal words which they have demonised, would rather alter them on a global scale, changing the authors words forever.”
The GB News presenters continued: “This has gone too far, it almost feels like an exercise in controlling people’s thoughts, acting as judge and jury on what language is preferable. It’s not as though there is swearing in many of the books they are altering, but some faceless woke warrior has decided that now these words are offensive.”
Edits include removing the word “fat” from every book, Augustus Gloop in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is now described as “enormous” and The Cloud-Men in James And The Giant Peach have become Cloud-People.
The Roald Dahl Story Company confirmed it began a review into the books alongside publishers Puffin in 2020, and that any changes made were “small and carefully considered”.
A spokesperson for the Roald Dahl Story Company said: “We want to ensure that Roald Dahl’s wonderful stories and characters continue to be enjoyed by all children today.
“When publishing new print runs of books written years ago, it’s not unusual to review the language used alongside updating other details including a book’s cover and page layout.
“Our guiding principle throughout has been to maintain the storylines, characters, and the irreverence and sharp-edged spirit of the original text.
Nana Akua criticised the publisher's decision to remove potentially offensive words GB News
“Any changes made have been small and carefully considered.”
The company added that it had worked alongside Inclusive Minds, a collective for people working towards inclusion and accessibility in children’s literature.
The review was launched before Netflix bought the rights to Dahl’s entire catalogue of children’s books in 2021.
The streaming giant said its acquisition will allow it to create a “unique universe” with the author’s classic tales, such as Matilda, The BFG and The Witches, and including films, TV series, spin-off games, immersive experiences and theatre shows.
Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74 but has since regularly topped lists of the nation’s favourite authors and his stories continue to be beloved by children around the world.
However, this is not the first time he has come under scrutiny as in 2020, Dahl’s family apologised for antisemitic comments made by the author.