Thanks to ‘sensitivity readers,’ the Oompa-Loompas are now gender-neutral and no longer tiny –

This is one of those stories that we thought might be a parody. Surely the Telegraph was exaggerating its headline to generate clicks. But then we scanned through the piece and found that Netflix was somehow involved, and then we knew it was real.

So here’s the deal as we understand it. The review of author Roald Dahl’s books began in 2020, when the company was still run by the Dahl family. This was after backlash to the movie version of “The Witches,” in which Anne Hathaway’s Grand Witch was missing fingers from each hand. Warner Bros. apologized after Paralympians and charities said it was offensive “to the limb difference community.”

Netflix acquired Dahl’s literary estate in 2021 for hundreds of millions, and the changes were made by Puffin, the publisher, after “sensitivity readers” scrutinized the texts.

Anita Singh reports:

Augustus Gloop is no longer fat, Mrs Twit is no longer fearfully ugly, and the Oompa-Loompas have gone gender-neutral in new editions of Roald Dahl’s beloved stories.

The publisher, Puffin, has made hundreds of changes to the original text, removing many of Dahl’s colourful descriptions and making his characters less grotesque.

The review of Dahl’s language was undertaken to ensure that the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today”, Puffin said.

References to physical appearance have been heavily edited. The word “fat” has been removed from every book – Augustus Gloop in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory may still look like a ball of dough, but can now only be described as “enormous”.

In the same story, the Oompa-Loompas are no longer “tiny”, “titchy” or “no higher than my knee” but merely small. And where once they were “small men”, they are now “small people”.

References to “female” characters have disappeared – Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, once a “most formidable female”, is now a “most formidable woman”.

Maybe J.K. Rowling should have sensitivity readers go through the “Harry Potter” books to make sure the word “female” is excised.

Remember when people were trying to sell their copies of Dr. Seuss’ offensive books on eBay?

The same university that in an earlier post we said had banned the word “picnic” also advised against the words “trigger warning,” as trigger was suggestive of gun violence.

Conservatives had a “meltdown” when they tried to cancel Dr. Seuss, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is also banning books left and right. But critics of DeSantis are probably fine with this.


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