R.L. Stine, one of the most popular children’s authors of all time with more than 300 million copies of his books in print, accused Scholastic Publishing on Monday of making over 100 selective woke edits to his “Goosebumps” series without his permission.
Stine’s “Goosebumps” series is only second to the Harry Potter series which is owned by Scholastic Publishing. He is charging that his books have been sanitized by editors who have changed words such as “plump” to “cheerful” and “crazy” to “silly.” He found out about the censorship on social media when a fan complained.
Scholastic did not try and deny they edited the books. They claimed the edits were necessary to protect young people’s mental health. According to Stine, he was not consulted.
“The stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps. Any changes were never shown to me,” the Ohio-born author responded to Lindsey the Cynical Geek who complained about the modifications. She didn’t realize Stine had not edited the books and responded, “I’m sorry you were put into this position. No artist should have to go through this. I really hope that this can be all be cleared up.”
Lindsey, the stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps. Any changes were never shown to me.
— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) March 6, 2023
Unfortunately for Stine, Scholastic Publishing also owns the rights to “Goosebumps” according to the LA Times which means he can’t stop them from censoring his books.
The sanitization of Stine’s books comes after the publisher of Roald Dahl’s books worked with “sensitivity readers” to rewrite his books. After a massive backlash, PuffinBooks has since announced that it will keep Dahl’s original books in print.
Today we announce the Roald Dahl Classic Collection, which will keep Dahl’s classic texts in print. Find more detail here: https://t.co/8IdAOcoJfw
— PuffinBooks (@PuffinBooks) February 24, 2023
The classic horror series “Goosebumps” became a sensation among teenagers in the 1990s. At its peak, four million copies of the books were sold a month.
Stine, who is now 79 years old, wrote 62 books in the series. He claims he could pound out a book in just six days.
The “Goosebumps” franchise spun out a movie in 2015 that starred Jack Black. It raked in $158 million at the box office.
The Times originally reported that Stine had made the changes in cooperation with Scholastic. Stine vehemently denied that report. Changes included the removal of a reference to fat people with “at least six chins” who were abducted by aliens. Now, it ridiculously says the people are “at least six feet six.”
According to National Review, references to someone resembling “a bowling ball,” and having “squirrel cheeks” have been stripped from the novels as well. “A real nut” is now “a real wild one” and “nutcase” is a “weirdo.”
In the 1998 title “Bride of the Living Dummy,” which has now been reissued, the ventriloquist dummy Slappy knocks a girl unconscious with a “love tap.” It’s been changed to reflect the villain using a magic spell.
And now, they’re burning old books to do it. New editions of Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame) and R. L. Stine (Goosebumps) will be rewritten to fit so-called “modern audiences.” That means they’re keeping the originals from you for ideological reasons. (cc @TheCriticalDri2) https://t.co/YMwRJyP8z5
— Rawle Nyanzi (@Parvenu62) March 7, 2023
In the 1996 book “Attack of the Jack-O’-Lanterns,” a character is described as being “tall and good-looking, with dark brown eyes and a great, warm smile. Lee is African-American, and he sort of struts when he walks and acts real cool, like the rappers on MTV videos.”
It’s been revised to describe the character as “tall and good-looking, with brown skin, dark brown eyes, and a great, warm smile. He sort of struts when he walks and acts real cool.”
Changes were also made to the 1997 version of “The Curse of Camp Cold Lake.” In it, the boys at a summer camp who gave “a loud wolf-whistle” has been changed to “whistled loudly.”
In another of Stine’s books, “I Live In Your Basement,” the primary character asks, “Did he really expect me to be his slave – forever?” That has been changed to “Did he really expect me to do this – forever?”
When I make a mistake I own up to it. News reports falsely claimed R.L. Stine changed his own work when it was Scholastic that did so without his knowledge. I retract and apologize for my reaction in the video. Scholastic can get bent over a cactus.https://t.co/sZxCfQEYxV https://t.co/jenPeG5mb6 pic.twitter.com/9C6bjSjxRo
— Mara Jade (@OG_MaraJade) March 7, 2023
“For more than 30 years, the Goosebumps series has brought millions of kids to reading through humor with just the right amount of scary,” Scholastic said in a statement.
“Scholastic takes its responsibility seriously to continue bringing this classic adolescent brand to each new generation. When re-issuing titles several years ago, Scholastic reviewed the text to keep the language current and avoid imagery that could negatively impact a young person’s view of themselves today, with a particular focus on mental health,” the publisher asserted.
Columnist Guy Benson tweeted, “Creepy: RL Stine says publisher ‘sanitized’ Goosebumps books w/o his permission, supposedly to make them more ‘current’ & less problematic. Altering published works to conform to ever-shifting standards is more Orwellian than just banning them.”
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