Talk about a "Series of Unfortunate Events."
Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket children's books, decided to try out some extremely racist jokes while hosting the 2014 National Book Awards this week. (You can watch the cringeworthy video here.)
He made the controversial remarks after Jacqueline Woodson, who is black, won an award for her book "Brown Girl Dreaming."
"I told you! I told Jacqueline she was going to win," he said. "And I said that if she won, I'd would tell all of you something I learned about her this summer, which is that Jacqueline Woodson is allergic to watermelon. Just let that sink into your mind."
And then he made things even more uncomfortable.
"I said, 'You have to put that into a book.' And she said, 'You put it into a book.' And I said, 'I'm only writing a book about a black girl who is allergic to watermelon if I get a blurb from you, Cornel West, Toni Morrison and Barack Obama saying, 'This guy's OK. This guy is fine.'"
He has apologized twice on Twitter since the debacle. And in the latest apology, he is trying to make up for his faux pas by putting some money towards a charity called We Need Diverse Books, "a grassroots organization dedicated to advocating and supporting non-majority narratives."
My remarks on Wednesday night at #NBAwards were monstrously inappropriate and yes, racist. -DH [1/4]— Daniel Handler (@DanielHandler) November 21, 2014
It would be heartbreaking for the #NBAwards conversation to focus on my behavior instead of great books. So can we do this? -DH [2/4]— Daniel Handler (@DanielHandler) November 21, 2014
Brown Girl Dreaming is an amazing novel and we need more voices like Jacqueline Woodson. -DH [4/4]— Daniel Handler (@DanielHandler) November 21, 2014