Ricky Gervais shares expletive-ridden thoughts on Roald Dahl censorship debate

Comedian has now weighed in on furore over children’s books being edited

Ellie Harrison
Saturday 25 February 2023 16:20 GMT
Philip Pullman addresses controversial Roald Dahl edits

Ricky Gervais has weighed in on the debate surrounding the controversial editing of Roald Dahl’s children books.

Over the past week there has been lively debate about publishing company Puffin’s decision to amend the author’s works to take out any mention of the word “fat” or other words or phrases that might offend.

Posting on Twitter on Friday 24 February, the notoriously provocative comedian wrote: “This is me pondering whether they’ll change any of the words I’ve used in my work after I’m dead, to spare those who are fragile and easily offended.

“Words like ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’. And ‘c***’ and ‘f***’. And ‘Fat, ugly, greedy, pathetic little stupid f***ing c***.’ Stuff like that.”

One commenter wrote that Gervais’s jokes aren’t aimed at children, who it can be hard to explain “hurtful” words to.

Gervais replied: “Yeah I know… It was a joke.”

In another post, he shared a picture of himself pulling a silly face and revealing his naked torso, writing: “I’ve changed my mind. I think we should ban the words ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’. No reason.”

The extent of the editing of Dahl’s books was unearthed in an investigation by The Telegraph.

Also on Friday, Puffin said it had “listened to the debate” about the editing, announcing that it would also still release what it called the Roald Dahl Classic Collection with the author’s original words, alongside the new versions.

Camilla, the Queen Consort, had been among those to defend the right to freedom of expression in the wake of the editing move, and author Salman Rushdie called it “absurd censorship”.

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