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You Won’t Believe Who’s Crying Foul Over Roald Dahl’s Woke Censorship

Salman Rushdie joins some far-Left outlets decrying Orwellian makeover

It’s rare to find the Left and Right united on anything these days.

Yet news that author Roald Dahl’s books are getting an extreme woke makeover did the trick … to a point.

The Dahl estate, along with the late author’s publisher, agreed to tweak the master’s works to make them more inclusive, and less triggering.

The British scribe is responsible for many beloved tomes, some of which have been made into celebrated films, like “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and “James and the Giant Peach.”

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) Official Trailer - Gene Wilder, Roald Dahl Movie HD

The examples of Dahl’s tweaked language are farcical, no doubt. Piers Morgan, the British pundit whose ideology is hard to pinpoint, gives some chilling examples of the new, “improved” Dahl passages.

In Dahl’s 1983 novel “The Witches,” about a young boy growing up in a world run by witches, there have been 59 changes.

The word “chambermaid” becomes “cleaner,” “great flock of ladies” is changed to “great group of ladies,” “You must be mad, woman!” is now “You must be out of your mind!” and “the old hag” is altered to “the old crow.”

Even “foul bald-headed females” is cut to “foul females” despite the fact the witches are all bald in the book.

Get the picture?

The usual suspects – conservatives – are outraged at the woke censorship. The Right is united in standing up to modern-day censorship, while many on the Left actively cheer it on.

Conservatives have some heady company this time ’round.

Salman Rushdie, a literary giant who literally put his life on the line to defend free speech, slammed the revisionist editing. Rushdie, who survived a brutal attack last year that left him without sight in one eye and chronic nerve damage, called the move “absurd censorship.”

Here’s where things get interesting.

The far-Left Nation similarly decried the censorship.

The beloved author’s books are being edited by their publisher to suit contemporary sensibilities. That robs us of the author’s vision—and any sense of history.

The culprits behind the changes refuse to comment on the matter. 

Puffin and The Roald Dahl Story Company, which manages the copyrights of Dahl’s books and works with publishers, didn’t respond to NPR’s requests for comment.

That cowardice is common for modern censors. They can’t defend their actions.

Even CNN, still a reliably liberal bastion despite new CEO Chris Licht’s attempts to balance the network’s coverage, took The Nation’s side.


At best, the effect has been to add a little harmless balance to the books. Making the Small Foxes in “Fantastic Mr. Fox” female rather than male has no material effect on the narrative or prose. But many of the changes obfuscate the intended meaning. The worst of them serve to reinforce prejudices, rather than banish them…

Such a fearful approach to historic books, one that treats each volume as though it may be the only one a child will ever consume, undermines the whole point of reading.

The bigger question remains. Why is anyone surprised?

Sensitivity readers are now an entrenched part of the literary world. Works in other media have been censored or removed entirely, from sitcoms with blackface moments to films like “Song of the South” and “I Love You, Daddy.” At best, challenging art now arrives with “warning labels” to make sure we don’t fall under their deep, dark spell.

And, when the woke mob erased some of Dr. Seuss’s canon two years ago, western culture collectively yawned. Some, like the execrable Stephen Colbert, actually cheered the move.

Dr. Seuss Is Not Cancelled, It's Just Time To Retire Books With Racist Imagery

Didn’t anyone think censorship would get better in this environment?

It may be encouraging that Dahl’s book sales are spiking at the moment, with consumers eager to snatch up his work before the Thought Police has its way with it. That doesn’t change the fact that Puffin Books will produce watered-down versions of Dahl’s work moving forward.

And, for many, those stories will be the official Dahl language.

The woke revolution is getting so strong, so unavoidable that others on the Left are starting to sound the alarm. The film festival circuit is feeling the censorial heat, drawing concern from the typically liberal Variety.

The New York Times recently published a vigorous op-ed from former Book Editor Pamela Paul calling out woke’s nefarious impact on the literary world.

The only thing surprising about the Dahl extreme makeover is that it didn’t happen already. Or that anyone thinks it will stop here.


  1. Hmm. Who profits?

    I would imagine that copies of the original versions of Dahl’s books are about to get very expensive. I’m betting that the people who own the copyrights…you know…the very people making the changes…are going to profit mightily in the short term. Coincidence?

  2. What is next The Bible? I am outraged by this first it was Dr Seuss. Words are important in a story they are descriptive not labeling. Apparently the Woke Liberals have figured that out. As a reader a lover of books. I am very sad and disappointed this is happening. Let the reader decide what is appropriate let the author decide not a money grubbing publisher

  3. I’m sure we all saw this coming. Start with the children’s books, then move on to the classics. Everything will be edited or destroyed within the next decade. We are living in the early part of a mashup of 1984, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451.

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