Publisher removes story from David Walliams book over 'harmful' Chinese stereotypes

4 October 2021, 16:28 | Updated: 4 October 2021, 16:36

David Walliams at the launch of one of his 'World's Worst Children' books
David Walliams at the launch of one of his 'World's Worst Children' books. Picture: Alamy

By James Morris

A David Walliams story about a Chinese boy is to be removed from one of his books following complaints about its “harmful stereotypes” and “misrepresentation” of Chinese culture.

Walliams’ story, Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong, will not feature in future editions of The World’s Worst Children, which was originally published in 2016. A new character and story will replace "total and utter swot" Brian, with the next edition to be published in March.

It comes after Georgie Ma, a podcaster, met with publisher HarperCollins Children to discuss her concerns having criticised the story on social media earlier this year.

Following the publisher's decision to drop the story, Ma told The Bookseller: “'Wong' and 'wrong' are two words that are commonly used in playgrounds to pick on someone if their surname is Wong.

'Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong' appeared in 'The World's Worst Children'
'Brian Wong, Who Was Never, Ever Wrong' appeared in 'The World's Worst Children'. Picture: Alamy

“Even just the way Brian has been illustrated. He wears glasses, he looks like a nerd, he’s got small eyes... they're all harmful stereotypes.”

Ma added she didn’t want her toddler daughter “being absorbed in these stories where Chinese culture is misrepresented”.

In a statement, HarperCollins Children said: “In consultation with our author and illustrator we can confirm that a new story will be written to replace Brian Wong in future editions of The World's Worst Children.

"The update will be scheduled at the next reprint as part of an ongoing commitment to regularly reviewing content.

Read more: Motorist pleads with 'selfish' eco-protesters to allow her to reach mother in hospital

Walliams has written three The World's Worst Children books.

Last year, he and his Little Britain co-star Matt Lucas apologised after criticism over their use of blackface make-up in some sketches on the show.

In the series, Walliams sported black make-up and a large afro wig to play the overweight black woman Desiree DeVere.

The programme was removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests around the world following the death of George Floyd in the US.

Eco mob are 'shooting themselves in the foot'

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Rishi Sunak criticised Labour's proposed plans to tackle migration rates in the UK.

UK would be ‘illegal migration capital of world’ under Labour, Sunak says as he sets out plans to ‘stop the boats’

Labour has made cutting knife crime a 'moral mission' should the party come to power

Labour makes cutting knife crime a 'moral mission' as Starmer proposes new child criminal exploitation offence

Spanish police are investigating if Jay's 'background' is relevant to the disappearance.

Spanish police searching for Jay Slater investigate if teenager’s background is ‘relevant’ to his disappearance

Lord Kinnock has said he would not wish being part of the current Tory government on his 'most bloodthirsty enemies'.

‘I wish I was fighting this lot’, ex-Labour leader Lord Kinnock says as he brands current Tory party 'superficial and hollow'

The president of Finland has said he 'doesn't agree with many things' Nigel Farage says in response to his comments on the war in Ukraine.

'Absolutely not': Finland's president dismisses Nigel Farage’s claim that Nato provoked Russia's war in Ukraine

A man went missing in the water off Bournemouth beach (file image)

Huge search operation launched for man missing in water off Bournemouth beach

Bosses face £1,000 fine for letting employees watch England's Euros clash with Denmark in the office

Offices showing England v Slovenia Euros clash could face hefty £1,000 fine

Princess Anne has been injured by a horse

King Charles sends 'fondest love’ to Princess Anne who will ‘quickly bounce back’ after being hit by horse

Callum the stag was "humanely euthanised".

Tourists blamed for death of 'legendary' stag after it was fed Rice Krispies and croissants

The Reform UK leader's comments came as he spoke to supporters at a rally in Kent on Tuesday, slamming the current government's ability to control immigration.

Farage warns of Channel migrant 'invasion' from countries 'with terrorism, gang culture and war zones'

Gavin Plumb is accused of plotting to kidnap Holly Willoughby

Obsessed security guard ‘plotted to keep Holly Willoughby in dungeon where screams couldn't be heard for miles'

At least two people have died in the fire

At least two dead as Moscow defence research centre bursts into flames ‘with staff trapped inside’

Parisians along River Seine, below Cathedral Notre Dame celebrate Fête de la Musique - annual city-wide music festival each June

British woman 'gang-raped in Paris at music festival'

Florida rapper Julio Foolio has been shot dead

Florida rapper Julio Foolio shot dead during his birthday in Florida

Meg Bellamy played Kate Middleton in The Crown

The Crown star Meg Bellamy reveals trolls branded her 'too fat' to play Kate in the show

Jay Slater's father has urged people to come forward if they have any information on his son's disappearance

'Someone must know something': Jay Slater's father speaks out as search for missing son stretches into second week