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The 2010 graphic novel The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, a spin-off from the popular Captain Underpants illustrated children’s novel series, is being pulled by its publisher because of “passively racist imagery,” Deadline reports.
Author Dav Pilkey apologized in a post made to YouTube, acknowledging that the book contained “harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery.” Pilkey also said that he will be donating the money he made from Ook and Gluk to charities like We Need Diverse Books, and The AAPI, and TheaterWorks USA.
“About ten years ago I created a book about a group of friends who save the world using Kung Fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy,” Pilkey wrote in the apology. “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution.”
He continued, “But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery. 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 will no longer publish the book and is currently working to notify schools and libraries who have the book in circulation of their decision.
“Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism. We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake,” Scholastic said in a statement. “Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.”
The Captain Underpants character got the big screen treatment back in 2017’s Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie from DreamWorks Animation and Twentieth Century Fox. The CGI-animated film featured voice acting from Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Kristen Schaal, Jordan Peele, Thomas Middleditch, Grey Griffin, and Nick Kroll.