The family of Roald Dahl has apologised for an antisemitic comment by the late author made 37 years ago, saying his previous remarks were “incomprehensible”.
His relatives issued a joint statement on his website after concerns the comment could damage his legacy – which continues to live on while his estate signs deals with broadcasters to adapt his books.
Dahl’s words, they wrote, “stand in contrast” to the man they knew.
The statement said: “The Dahl family and the Roald Dahl Story Company deeply apologise for the lasting and understandable hurt caused by some of Roald Dahl’s statements.
“Those prejudiced remarks are incomprehensible to us and stand in contrast to the man we knew and to the values at the heart of Roald Dahl’s stories, which have positively impacted young people for generations.
“We hope that, just as he did at his best, at his absolute worse, Roald Dahl can help remind us of the lasting impact of words.”
Dahl told the New Statesman magazine in 1983 that: “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity.
“Even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”
The author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda died in 1990 aged 74.
A new screen adaptation of his book The Witches – starring Anne Hathaway – was released earlier this year, while Hollywood stars including Johnny Depp, Mark Rylance, and Danny DeVito have all appeared in film versions of his stories.