• Carmen Milligan

Roald Dahl family apologies

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

Did you happen to see that the family of beloved children's book author Roald Dahl apologized for anti-Semitic comments he made in the past? The undated and unsigned statement, evidently hidden in an obscure part of the author's official website, reads:

“The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements,” it reads. “Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in marked contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl's stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations. We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worst, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”

All of the news outlets are reporting it, but I think it's too little, too late. We've long known Dahl was, what one article called, "an equal opportunities bigot". His first wife, actress Patricia Neal, called him "Rauld the Rotten". However, readers loved his stories, so seemingly easily separated the man from the work.

Plus, the timing is interesting. The apology comes after Netflix reportedly paid the family $1B for the production rights of several of his works, and a movie about his life is coming out in a few months. "The Witches", starring Anne Hathaway hit streaming services around Halloween, and, according to Netflix's Twitter account, "Taika Waititi will write, direct, & EP two animated series based on the works of Roald Dahl. The first is based on the world and characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The second is a wholly original take on the Oompa-Loompas, that builds out their world."

Jewish representatives are, understandably, disappointed that this timing is 30 years late, after very lucrative deals have been made, and that none of this money is being used to promote tolerance or anti-Semite organizations. Basically, they're sorry. And that's it.

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