Kids’ horror author R.L Stine has denied sanitizing his classic “Goosebumps” books to “appease the woke” — accusing his publisher of altering his work behind his back.
The 79-year-old horror author spoke up after The Times of London claimed that he had “censored over a dozen of his books” to avoid mentions of race or calling characters fat or crazy.
“This story is false. I have never changed a word in a Goosebumps book,” Stine stated firmly to a report accusing him of “re-editing the books to appease The Woke.”
Instead, the changes were made behind his back, Stine said in response to an angry reader who accused him of being “shameful” for supporting censorship.
“The stories aren’t true. I’ve never changed a word in Goosebumps,” he again said of the second biggest-selling book series after “Harry Potter.”
“Any changes were never shown to me,” he stressed.
The changes sparked outrage coming on the heels of woke edits to Roald Dahl’s classic kids’ books, as well as planned changes to Ian Fleming’s James Bond books. Unlike those, however, the UK Times initially accused Stine of making the changes.
Fox News contributor Guy Benson said that changing Stine’s work without his approval was — fittingly — especially “creepy.”
“Altering published works to conform to ever-shifting standards is more Orwellian than just banning them,” he tweeted.
The UK Times said it found more than 100 edits in e-book versions of the series of 62 books.
It noted how one character who “acts real cool, like the rappers on MTV videos” now just “acts real cool” — and is described as having “brown skin” rather than being “African-American.”
Mentions of slaves were also removed, as well as black face worn by a character dressed as “a dark and stormy night” for Halloween.
Characters were no longer “roly-poly,” and “plump” ones were described as now “cheerful.” Characters Stine called “overweight” are now merely “huge” and one with “at least six chins” is now “at least six feet six.”
A line about schoolgirls having “crushes” on their headmaster was cut, and a boy who wolf-whistled now merely “whistled loudly,” the UK Times noted. Something dismissed as “girl’s stuff” is now just “not interesting.”
Numerous mentions of “crazy” were cut, replaced with terms such as “silly”, “wild”, “scary”, “lost her mind” and “stressed”. The term “a real nut” is now “a real wild one” and “nutcase” is “weirdo,” the outlet noted.
Scholastic confirmed in a statement to Deadline that it had made changes to the series that “has brought millions of kids to reading through humour with just the right amount of scary.”
“Scholastic takes its responsibility seriously to continue bringing this classic adolescent brand to each new generation,” the statement said.
“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 did not immediately respond to requests to comment on Stine’s claim that he was unaware his books had been altered.
Others rushed to Stine’s defense as he continued to face backlash for the edits.
“Hey y’all, @RL_Stine himself is saying REPEATEDLY that he has never changed a single word of a Goosebumps book,” marketer Paul Brown tweeted.
“Calm down with your ‘Woke’ terrified witch hunt good grief.”