Beloved children's book author Enid Blyton has found herself in hot water, 60 years after her death.
The mind behind classic books including The Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair and Noddy has made headlines after a commemorative coin celebrating the author's legacy was blocked by The Royal Mint in the UK, with the organisation holding fears over her homophobic and racist views.
During a recent meeting by The Royal Mint Advisory Committee, the public body reportedly noted that “she [Blyton] is known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer."
According to the Daily Mail, the group had a “deep concern that this theme will bring adverse reaction… concern over the backlash that may result from this.”
PinkNews reports that Blyton was first accused of holding racist views in a 1966 article by Lena Jeger published by The Guardian, in which she criticised Blyton's book The Little Black Doll. The book told the story of a doll who was hated because he was black, until he is “washed clean” by the rain and eventually accepted.
However, some claimed it was unfair of The Royal Mint to judge Blyton based on today's values, with Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Madeley saying that calling the author a “racist, sexist homophobe” was “ridiculous”.
“It seems to me that if you were to draw a line in the year 1955 and go backwards from there, you could pretty much pick up anybody based on our modern values and what is acceptable today," he said on the show.
“You could pick up almost anybody on what they said, what they thought, words they used. Obviously there are lines that you cross such as fascism, Hitler, Mussolini, etc, but there are social lines that have changed, and you can’t judge people by the standards of today.”
However, UK author Matt Haig disagreed, writing on Twitter: “Not everyone had Enid Blyton’s values in Enid Blyton’s time. Enid Blyton wrote a book about an ‘ugly’ black doll as late as 1966 that was called out in newspapers at the time.
“Not everyone in the past was dripping in racism and anti-semitism and homophobia to the same extent.”