A story about a Chinese boy written by David Williams will be removed from one of his children’s books following criticism that it contained “harmful stereotypes”.
Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong will not appear in a new edition of The World’s Worst Children when it releases next year.
Podcaster Georgie Ma raised the issue of “normalizing jokes about minorities from an early age”.
Listen without a script
The editors met with Ms. Ma to discuss the matter and agreed to remove her from the book, which has stories about 10 characters, including Nigel Nit-Boy, Grubby Gertrude, and Bertha the Blubberer.
The original sold 450,000 copies in the UK after it was released in 2016, and two sequels and other spinoffs have been released since.
“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, ”publisher HarperCollins Children’s said.
“The update will be scheduled for the next reprint as part of an ongoing commitment to regularly review content.”
Ms. Ma criticized Brian Wong’s character illustrations, which she said could lead to bullying.
“‘Wong’ and ‘wrong’ are two words commonly used in playgrounds to pick on someone if their last name is Wong,” Ms. Ma told the bookseller.
“Even the way Brian was portrayed. He wears glasses, he looks like a nerd, he has small eyes… these are all harmful stereotypes.”
Walliams was previously involved in controversial use of blackface in Little Britain, the show he co-wrote with Matt Lucas.
The couple apologized, saying they “wish we had played characters from other races.”