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‘Cancel Culture Gone Mad’: Fans React as ‘Captain Underpants’ Book Pulled Over Racism Concerns

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Publishing company Scholastic pulled a graphic novel based off the popular “Captain Underpants” series over “passive racism” concerns, prompting reactions that overwhelmingly ridiculed the move.

Social media debate over “cancel culture” ensued Monday after Scholastic announced that it was pulling the 2010 graphic novel The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future over concerns and a petition that claimed it perpetuated Asian stereotypes. Many fans blasted the move as an absurd attempt at political correctness, highlighting the irony of how the story itself touts children who challenge overbearing authority figures. Dav Pilkey, the creator of the series, apologized Monday for the “serious mistake” of including racial stereotypes, but readers still denounced the move as inane.

“I think the Captain Underpants book are brilliant,” read one top Reddit comment which reacted to the pulling of the graphic novel. “[The characters] George and Harold challenge authority. But, they challenge unjust authority and I think free societies need to train all children to do that. It’s no surprise that crusty grown-ups want to keep them away from kids.”

I want off this ride https://t.co/18TE5U7eRQ

— Robby Soave (@robbysoave) March 29, 2021

“Cancel culture gone mad,” read one top Monday Reddit post that responded to “Captain Underpants” trending across social media platforms. “Anything to make sure we’re politically correct!”

Numerous Reddit threads criticized the individual who first started a petition earlier this month to pull the work, noting he is of “Korean-American” descent and not Chinese, the culture depicted in the story. Scholastic’s Monday statement said it was pulling the book over “passive racism,” which prompted countless tweets demanding a definition of that phrase.

Many fans noted that the graphic novel isn’t technically considered part of the “Captain Underpants” official series. Others blamed the current state of U.S. politics, accusing the “radical left” of leading the charge to cancel the book.

Pilkey issued an apology on YouTube over the weekend that acknowledged the accusations of racism and described the Chinese origins of the graphic novel series.

His statement read: “About ten years ago I created a book about a group of friends who save the world using kung fu and the principles found in Chinese philosophy. ‘The Adventures of Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future’ was intended to showcase diversity, equality, and non-violent conflict resolution. But this week it was brought to my attention that this book also contains harmful racial stereotypes and passively racist imagery.”

“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’s statement continued.

“We are deeply sorry for this serious mistake. Scholastic has removed the book from our websites, stopped fulfillment of any orders (domestically or abroad), contacted our retail partners to explain why this book is no longer available, and sought a return of all inventory. We will take steps to inform schools and libraries who may still have this title in circulation of our decision to withdraw it from publication.”

The Liberty Buzz reached out to Scholastic Monday for additional remarks about the decision to pull the graphic novel from circulation.

Author Dav Pilkey’s latest “Captain Underpants” spinoff novel has been pulled by Scholastic due to concerns about racism. Above, Pilkey attends the premiere of 20th Century Fox’s “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie” at Regency Village Theatre on May 21, 2017 in Westwood, California.
Rich Fury/Getty Images

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