David Walliams accused of fatshaming and classism in children’s books

David Walliams has been condemned for the content of his popular children’s books.

Activist and food writer Jack Monroe launched a scathing attack on Twitter on Sunday (5 July), branding the comedian’s stories as “sneering classist fatshaming nonsense”.

In a thread, which has since gone viral, Monroe quoted several of Walliams’s books, including The World’s Worst Parents, which was published on 2 July 2020.

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She accused Walliams of “targeting the working class” and noted how much of his material was recycled from his controversial Little Britain series. Walliams and his collaborator Matt Lucas recently apologised for using blackface in the show.

Monroe began her Twitter thread with the following post: “Small Boy completed his David Walliams book collection today, so I finally decided to take a read of the latest. (It’s important to note here I’ve not bought a single one.) It’s like Little Britain for kids. 37m copies sold? Of this sneering classist fatshaming grim nonsense?”

She condemned Walliams for depicting a single mother of two who lives in a tower block as one of the “world’s worst parents” when “all she does is love her kids and make them laugh”.

Monroe added: “I’m aware I probably come across as a joyless harpy, but a white wealthy man using working-class women as punchlines for his tired old jokes and then spoon-feeding them to children is grim.”

She also said the word “fat” is used as a “derogatory description, pretty much throughout”.

In response to the thread, Walliams’s publisher HarperCollins told The Independent: “David Walliams’s books have a diverse readership which is reflected in their content. He writes about the real worlds of children using comedy as a way of confronting many difficult topics, from the ground-breaking The Boy in the Dress to Gangsta Granny, and which should be considered in the wider context of the overall stories.

“In his World’s Worst… series he writes cautionary tales using surreal humour to champion underdogs, deflate the pompous and denounce bullies. David Walliams’s books have transformed countless non-readers into booklovers and got families reading together.”

They also said Monroe’s claims that Walliams had made racist jokes about a character named Miss Tutelage were incorrect, and that the character is in fact white, not black as Monroe had stated.

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