David Walliams has removed a Chinese character from one of his books after facing criticism.
The ‘Little Britain’ star and children’s author will release a new version of ‘The World’s Worst Children’ next year without the story ‘Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong’.
In a statement, publishers Harper Collins confirmed the removal: “In consultation with our author and illustrator [Tony Ross] we can confirm that a new story will be written to replace ‘Brian Wong’ in future editions of ‘The World’s Worst Children’. The update will be scheduled at the next reprint as part of an ongoing commitment to regularly reviewing content.”
The removal comes after podcaster Georgie Ma claimed the book was “normalising jokes on minorities from a young age”.
She explained to Bookseller: “‘Wong’ and ‘wrong’ are two words that are commonly used in playgrounds to pick on someone if their surname is Wong.”
The book – which has so far sold close to half a million copies since its release in 2016 – features stories of 10 children, including Nigel Nit-Boy, Grubby Gertrude and Bertha the Blubberer.
Georgie didn’t hold back when calling out the stereotypes raised in the book penned by Walliams.
She added: “Even just the way Brian has been illustrated. He wears glasses, he looks like a nerd, he’s got small eyes … they’re all harmful stereotypes. The overall character plays on the model minority myth where Chinese people are nerdy, swotty and good at maths, we’re not confrontational and we’re high achievers.
“It was just really disappointing to read about that. Personally for me, because I have a toddler, I don’t want her being absorbed in these stories where Chinese culture is misrepresented.”