‘Lemony Snicket’ Author Daniel Handler Apologizes For Racist Remarks He Made At National Book Awards

The man behind Lemony Snicket is making good on an apology he made after making racist remarks at the National Book Awards.

Daniel Handler has added a financial pledge to his apology for a watermelon joke he made about a black author at the awards. On Wednesday, Handler apologized for his racially charged joke he told while presenting the award for Young People’s Literature to Jacqueline Woodson on Tuesday.

“I told you! I told Jackie she was going to win. And I said that if she won, I would tell all of you something I learned this summer, which is that Jackie Woodson is allergic to watermelon. Just let that sink in your mind. And I said you have to put that in a book. And she said, ‘You put that in a book.’ And I said, ‘I am 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 okay! This guy’s fine!'” Handler said at the awards.

After the awards show was over, Handler became highly criticized for blemishing the awards with his racial remarks. Handler quickly apologized.

“My remarks on Wednesday night at #NBAwards were monstrously inappropriate and yes, racist. It would be heartbreaking for the #NBAwards conversation to focus on my behavior instead of great books. So can we do this?” he added. “Let’s donate to #WeNeedDiverseBooks to #CelebrateJackie. I’m in for $10,000, and matching your money for 24 hours up to $100,000. Brown Girl Dreaming is an amazing novel and we need more voices like Jacqueline Woodson,” Handler said in his apology reports, E! Online.

On Thursday, Handler announced he would be pledging $10,000 to an online fund to diversify children’s literature. He added that he would match contributors’ money for 24 hours up to $100,000, reports Time.

The campaign he pledged to has been on Indiegogo since October 23, and has raised $165,669 so far. Handler’s donation has greatly helped the cause.

Jacqueline Woodson, the award winning author caught up in the situation, addressed the issue in an email.

“I’d rather continue to move the dialogue forward in a positive light rather than a negative one. This is a moment when our country can grow and learn and better understand each other. It would be nice to put the energy back where it should be — on the books and what the books are saying and doing.”