LONDON: The Roald Dahl Museum in Britain has detailed work it is undertaking “towards combating hate and prejudice”, it said, acknowledging that the renowned children’s writer’s racism was “undeniable and indelible”.
The admission by the museum, located in Buckinghamshire in southeast England, follows an apology in 2020 by the Dahl family and Roald Dahl Story Company for his well-documented anti-Semitic comments.
Dahl, the creator of books such as “Matilda”, “The BFG”, and “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory” – who died in 1990 – made offensive remarks about Jewish people in a 1983 interview with “New Statesman” magazine.
The Dahl museum, which is a charity, said it fully supported the 2020 apology and that it “condemns all racism, including antisemitism, directed at any group or individual”.
“Roald Dahl’s racism is undeniable and indelible, but what we hope can also endure is the potential of Dahl’s creative legacy to do some good,” it said on its website.
The museum said it was “committed to being more welcoming, inclusive, diverse, and equitable in all aspects of our work”, revealing steps it had been taking to achieve that.
They include “reflecting the visible diversity of our audiences in our marketing, by running accessible and inclusive recruitment campaigns for staff or trustee positions”.
It is also better training employees and engaging with several organisations within the Jewish community, including the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council.
The museum noted it chooses not to repeat Dahl’s anti-Semitic statements publicly, but keeps a record of what he wrote in its collection “so it is not forgotten”.
Dahl’s comments have long cast a shadow over his personal legacy, which has remained prominent as a number of his children’s classics have made it onto the screen and stage since his death aged 74.
A prequel film to “Charlie And The Chocolate Factory”, featuring computer-generated imagery of Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa and Timothee Chalamet as the eccentric chocolate factory owner Willy Wonka, is set for release later this year.
Reflecting on his life, the Dahl Museum said he was “a contradictory person” who could be kind and “often helped people, donated to charity, and contributed to medical science”.
“However, there are also recorded incidents of him being very unkind and worse, including writing and saying antisemitic things about Jewish people.”