Roald Dahl Museum Calls Author’s Racism ‘Undeniable and Indelible’

A museum devoted to Roald Dahl, the best-selling British author, has condemned his antisemitic views and said his racism was “undeniable and indelible.”

In a statement published on its website this week, the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Center near London said that it “condemns all racism directed at any group or individual” and that it fully supported a statement by the author’s family and estate in 2020 that apologized for his antisemitism.

Dahl, who wrote numerous beloved children’s books, including “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” was a self-avowed antisemitic, who made disparaging remarks about Jewish people on multiple occasions. He died in 1990 at 74.

The museum, in his former home of Great Missenden, England, is an independent charity that Dahl’s widow, Felicity Dahl, founded in 2001.

The organization said it was working to become more welcoming by conducting accessible and inclusive recruitment campaigns for staff and trustee positions. “We are working hard to do better and know we have more to do,” the museum said.

Since 2021, the museum said, it had been working with multiple Jewish organizations and staff and trustees had received training from the Antisemitism Policy Trust.

“We want to keep listening and talking to explore how our organization might make further contributions towards combating hate and prejudice, supporting the work of experts already working in this area, including those from the Jewish community,” the museum said.

Dahl’s legacy as a children’s author has become increasingly complicated.

His works have been called antisocial, brutish and anti-feminist. In February, it was announced that new editions of his works had been rewritten in an effort to make them less offensive and more inclusive. It was reported that hundreds of words, including descriptions of characters’ appearances, races and genders, had been removed from some of his books. Some called the changes absurd while others said they were alarmed by them.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of Britain, referencing a work by Dahl, told the BBC at the time, “When it comes to our rich and varied literary heritage, the prime minister agrees with the BFG that we shouldn’t gobblefunk around with words.”

Despite the criticism, Dahl’s works remain staples for young readers and are regularly reimagined for the silver screen. A third adaptation of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” starring Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman and Hugh Grant, is set to be released this year.

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