Disney+ adds new content warning for racist depictions in classic films

Carla Harmon
October 17, 2020

"It may contain outdated cultural depictions" - were The Aristocats, Fantasia and Lady and the Tramp.

Disney+ has updated the content warnings it provides for some of its classic animations, warning of "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures".

The company explained why it has not altered the content on the label at the beginning of the films: "These stereotypes were wrong then and they are wrong now". Moderately than take away this content material, we wish to acknowledge its unsafe affect, study from it and spark dialog to create a extra inclusive future collectively.

"Disney is committed to creating inspirational-themed stories that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the world", the warning ends.

Before, certain films included a warning that said "this program is presented as originally created".

These notices are a new iteration of the "outdated cultural depictions" warnings which have appeared on some classic Disney titles since the service launched.

Almost one year later amid a reckoning that has companies confronting their racist pasts, Disney has finally gotten around to updating and strengthening the language in the content advisory for the problematic films in question. In addition to this, the cat "sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks". However, the page includes a link to www.disney.com/StoriesMatter, which indeed provides examples for some of these films. One character was originally called Jim Crow, which is a reference to the racial segregation laws in the Southern United States known as the Jim Crow laws.

The advisory isn't new, according to Disney, but it's now been updated and strengthened for that film and others.

The 1946 Song of the South was never added to Disney+. Other streaming sites have also made steps to acknowledge the negative portrayals of people of color in movies and shows on their services.

The movie studio said that the film Peter Pan refers to native people as "redskins" and that the dancing in headdresses by Peter and the Lost Boys is a "form of mockery and appropriation of native people's culture and imagery".

Some films, such as Song of the South, are also not available to stream on Disney+ at all because of racism concerns. In the same movie, faceless Black workers are shown laboring to offensive lyrics like "When we get our pay, we throw our money all away".

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