Publishing company Scholastic last week pulled a book by Dav Pilkey, author of the “Captain Underpants” series, after determining it “perpetuates passive racism.”
In a statement Friday, Scholastic said it stopped distribution of “The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung Fu Cavemen from the Future” on March 22 “with the full support” of Pilkey.
"Together, we recognize that this book perpetuates passive racism," the company said. "We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake."
Pilkey apologized in a statement a day earlier, saying the 2010 book “contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery.”
“This week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery,” he said. “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.”
Pilkey went on to say that he “intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution” in the book, a spinoff from the “Captain Underpants” series.
The author noted that Scholastic “has stepped forward to share my responsibility and together we are ceasing all further publication” of the book and are “actively working to remove existing copies from retail and library shelves.”
Scholastic said it removed the book from its websites, halted order fulfillments and “sought a return of all inventory.” Scholastic added that it plans to "take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication."
The decision to stop distributing Pilkey’s book comes a few weeks after Dr. Seuss Enterprises announced that it would end publication of six of Theodore Geisel’s books due to racially insensitive imagery.
“I hope that you, my readers, will forgive me, and learn from my mistake that even unintentional and passive stereotypes and racism is harmful to everyone,” Pilkey said on Thursday. “I apologize, and I pledge to do better.”
Pilkey said he would “donate all of my advance and royalties” from the book’s sales to charities that donate to children in underserved communities and advocacy organizations that support diversity in children’s books and combat anti-Asian discrimination. He specifically named We Need Diverse Books, the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and TheaterWorks USA.