By Bruce Frassinelli
The beloved author whose children’s books have sold hundreds of millions of copies has come under fire for his racist and ethnic depictions.
Dr. Seuss Enterprises, the company which publishes his books, announced on March 2 — also known as Dr. Seuss Day and National Read Across America Day — that it was ending publication of six of his books that are no longer socially acceptable.
Three of them are among some of the most popular of Seuss’s bountiful portfolio, — “If I Ran the Zoo,” “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” and “McElligot’s Pool.”
In its announcement, the company, a division of Random House, said, “These books portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”
The decision is among dozens as the sports and business worlds reexamine how they use various images and their implications. Much of it was inspired by the killing last May of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests that it provoked.
As critics scoured his past works, they found that prior to writing children’s books, Geisel had drawn racist ads and political cartoons that depicted Blacks as savages in grass skirts, Asians with slits for eyes and turban-wearing Middle-Easterners.
Even with a slimmed down catalogue of offerings, Geisel’s estate nearly doubled in 2020 as he earned about $33 million, which made him the highest paid deceased celebrity next to pop singer Michael Jackson, according to Forbes magazine.
Almost immediately after the announcement, eBay noted an incredible run-up in prices for the discontinued titles, with some of the books that were previously being sold for less than $10 now fetching close to $900