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Tom Hanks slams the ‘woke’ trend of rewritting classic books for ‘modern sensitivities’

Tom Hanks  (PA)
Tom Hanks (PA)

Tom Hanks has said he will boycott books edited for “modern sensitivities”.

The actor’s comments come after publisher Puffin’s recent announcement that books by the late Roald Dahl were being rewritten to edit out any offensive language.

Words such as “fat” and “ugly” were removed, with alterations to segments concerning race, gender and mental health so the books “can continue to be enjoyed by all today”.

The decision sparked debate with many hitting out against the move and calling it “woke”.

Hanks, who released his debut novel, The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece: A Novel, earlier this month, has now shared his concerns.

A number of Roald Dahl books have been edited to remove ‘offensive language.' (Nick Fewings/Unsplash)
A number of Roald Dahl books have been edited to remove ‘offensive language.' (Nick Fewings/Unsplash)

He said: “Well, I’m of the opinion that we’re all grown-ups here. And we understand the time and the place and when these things were written.

“It’s not very hard at all to say that it doesn’t quite fly right now, does it?”

“Let’s have faith in our own sensibilities here, instead of having somebody decide what we may or may not be offended by...” he continued.

“Let me decide what I am offended by and not offended by. I would be against reading any book from any era that says ‘abridged due to modern sensitivities.’”

According to a synopsis of Hanks’ new book, it’s “a wildly ambitious story of the making of a colossal, star-studded, multimillion-dollar superhero action film, and the humble comic book that inspired it all.”

Following the backlash from the censoring of classic works of fiction such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Puffin UK announced it would produce uncensored versions of Dahl’s stories.

The publisher said it had “listened to the debate” and understood there were “very real questions around how stories can be kept relevant for new generations”.