With a new Roald Dahl adaption always seemingly right around the corner–most recently the Anne Hathaway-led reboot of The Witches on HBO Max–the author’s anti-Semitic views are often resurfaced even 30 years after his death, leading critics to question whether his works should continue to be adapted. Now, the author’s estate has quietly issued a statement apologizing for those remarks, as they “stand in marked contrast to the man we knew.”
With the Witches now released on HBO Max after the COVID-19 pandemic canned plans for a theatrical release, the Dahl estate is looking towards future adaptations. The most recently announced is an animated series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, set to be helmed by New Zealand director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) for Netflix.
As reported on Deadline, Dahl’s anti-Semitic comments have led to backlash against the author even after his death, with the Royal Mint citing those remarks in its decision to cancel plans for a commemorative Roald Dahl coin.
Dahl spoke about his anti-Semitic views in an interview with the New Statesman in 1983, and later doubled down on those remarks in a 1990 article in The Independent.
The statement on the Roald Dahl official website is the first time the remarks have been acknowledged or addressed by the author’s estate, though the statement was released without fanfare, and requires scrolling through the home page’s “All about Roald” menu to access.
“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,” the apology 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.”