Disney Plus has added new disclaimers to many of its classic films for featuring what some viewers might consider “negative depictions” and “mistreatment of people or cultures.”
What are the details?
According to the Daily Wire, a 12-second disclaimer on the company’s streaming platform says, “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it, and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together.”
In a video titled “Stories Matter,” the Walt Disney Company breaks down what makes some of its beloved classics so offensive.
Some of those films include 1941’s “Dumbo,” 1953’s “Peter Pan,” and 1970’s “The Aristocats.”
On its “Stories Matter” page, the company writes, “As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures. We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of.”
Here’s why “Dumbo” is problematic according to the company:
The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. In “The Song of the Roustabouts,” faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like ‘When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.
The streaming site explains that “Peter Pan” is offensive as it portrays native people in a “stereotypical manner” and repeatedly uses the word “redskins.”
The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions. It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as “redskins,” an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.
“The Aristocats” makes the list as it features a cat depicting a “racist caricature of East Asian people.”
The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks. This portrayal reinforces the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.”
Disney Advisory – Stories Matter I The Walt Disney Company