- Scholastic said it has stopped distributing a book by Dav Pilkey for perpetuating “passive racism.”
- “We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake,” the children’s book publisher said in a statement.
- The pulled book, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk,” hit bookshelves in 2010.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Scholastic has pulled a children’s book, “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk,” for perpetuating “passive racism.”
The publisher said in a statement the decision was made on March 22 with the author, Dav Pilkey, who is known for the wildly successful “Captain Underpants” series.
In his own statement, Pilkey said the book was “intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution.”
The book is about friends who save the world using kung fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy, he said.
“But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery,” the author said. “I wanted to take this opportunity to publicly apologize for this. It was and is wrong and harmful to my Asian readers, friends, and family, and to all Asian people.”
Scholastic’s decision on the book – subtitled “Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future” – followed a similar decision from Dr. Seuss Enterprises, which said earlier this month it would cease publication of six Dr. Seuss titles.
In the days after that announcement, other Dr. Seuss titles soared to the top of Amazon’s bestseller chart. The books were pulled from eBay. Politicians and commentators claimed that “cancel culture” had come for Dr. Seuss.
Pilkey said he and Scholastic would work to remove copies of “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk” from bookshops and library shelves, although it’s unclear whether libraries would remove the book.
As of Sunday, Scholastic’s websites in the US and elsewhere had pulled the title. Current orders won’t be fulfilled, the company said.
“Throughout our 100-year history, we have learned that trust must be won every day by total vigilance,” Scholastic said in its statement.
It added: “It is our duty and privilege to publish books with powerful and positive representations of our diverse society, and we will continue to strengthen our review processes as we seek to support all young readers.”
Pilkey said his advance and royalties from the book would be given to charities. He said: “I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism are harmful to everyone. I apologize, and I pledge to do better.”