Daniel Handler known for his uber popular book Lemony Snicket, is trying to make amends for the racist joke he offered to the audience at the National Book Awards on Wednesday. He admitted that his comment about Jackie Woodson, who is known for writing about the black experience in America, was “monstrously inappropriate and yes, racist”.

In case you missed it, Handler who served as host for the event, thought it would be a good idea to reference the fact that he just discovered Woodson’s allergic reaction to watermelon – right after she received her award and exited the stage.

Handler was in rare form as he clearly decided to spend majority of the time cracking badly contrived racial jokes. Before Woodson accepted her honor, he also subjected another black author to the same treatment. Sharon Draper, an award-winning author was introduced in a way that also raised eyebrows. Handler emphasized that she had previously won the Coretta King Award  – “a prize I hope to one day receive myself. That’s a children’s publishing joke. We’ll explain it to you later”.

Hander has now been forced to own up to his insensitivity, which has cost him $10,000 – the amount he as offered up as a truce. He plans on donating it to an organization that is dedicated to propelling diversity in literature. He also promises to match any funds that are given in the next 24 hours up to $100,000.

Well, at least that’s a decent start down the road to redemption.

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