Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Racist Jokes by the Forward

Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Racist Jokes

If you’re anything like me, you spent a good part of the early aughts nose deep in a truly depressing series of books.

I’m referring of course, to “A Series of Unfortunate Events” which tells the woeful tale of a trio of orphan siblings trying to escape the clutches of the devious Count Olaf. Well now, Jewish author Daniel Handler, who wrote the books under the pen name Lemony Snicket, has his own very real series of unfortunate events to write home about.

At a ceremony announcing the winners of the National Book Award last night, Handler made an unfortunate joke while presenting the award for young people’s literature to Jacqueline Woodson, a black woman and author of “Brown Girl Dreaming.”

The offensive attempt at humor referenced a racist trope that black people like watermelon. The backlash was almost instantaneous.

Handler finally apologized via Twitter, calling the comments “ill-conceived attempts at humor.”


Anne Cohen

Anne Cohen

Anne Cohen was the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.

Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Racist Jokes

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