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'Sensitivity readers' rewrite James Bond books to remove content deemed 'offensive' by modern readers
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'Sensitivity readers' rewrite James Bond books to remove content deemed 'offensive' by modern readers

A week after censors edited Roald Dahl's classic children's books to remove content deemed objectionable, "sensitivity readers" are rewriting Ian Fleming's iconic novels about James Bond.

Fleming's James Bond books are scheduled to be reissued in April to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the publication of "Casino Royale" – the first novel in the 007 franchise.

Ian Fleming Publications Ltd – the company that owns the literary rights to the author's work – commissioned "sensitivity readers" to pore over the James Bond novels and scrub any offensive content before the republication.

The reissued books will reportedly remove the race and ethnicity of certain characters.

Fleming’s books will have descriptions of black people "reworked or removed."

The Telegraph reported, "In the sensitivity reader-approved version of 'Live and Let Die,' Bond’s assessment that would-be African criminals in the gold and diamond trades are 'pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought, except when they’ve drunk too much' becomes – 'pretty law-abiding chaps I should have thought.'"

The censors will alter a scene where Bond witnesses a strip tease at a nightclub in Harlem, New York.

The original book read, "Bond could hear the audience panting and grunting like pigs at the trough. He felt his own hands gripping the tablecloth. His mouth was dry."

The rewritten passage will read, "Bond could sense the electric tension in the room."

The sensitivity readers decided to remove a description of an accent described as "straight Harlem-Deep South with a lot of New York thrown in."

Racial slurs that denigrate black people which Fleming used in his writing between the 1950s and 1960s will also be removed from the new editions.

The Telegraph noted, "Dated references to other ethnicities remain, such as Bond's racial terms for east Asian people and the spy’s disparaging views of Oddjob, Goldfinger's Korean henchman."

The British media outlet said other expressions that will remain include: "sweet tang of rape," "blithering women," "man's work," and referring to homosexuality as a "stubborn disability."

Ian Fleming Publications issued a statement on the edited James Bond novels:

We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to 'Live and Let Die' that he himself authorized. Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the instances of several racial terms across the books and removed a number of individual words or else swapped them for terms that are more accepted today but in keeping with the period in which the books were written. We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are published in April.

The revised novels will feature a disclaimer that reads: "This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace. A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set."

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Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca

Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@Paul_Sacca →