Disney Admits These Movies Have Had a "Harmful Impact" With New Warning
A strong new warning has been placed before several movies on the Disney+ streaming service.
While some people believe the classics shouldn't be touched, many older and widely loved movies and TV shows depict outdated and racist stereotypes that aren't as easily glossed over by the masses as they may have been in the past. Disney is now acknowledging that several of their own classics have had a "harmful impact" on society by placing a new warning on a handful of movies streaming on Disney+. Read on to find out more about the new warning, and for more Disney news you might have missed, Disney's Latest Announcement Shows That There Could Be Trouble Ahead.
Disney has placed a 12-second, non-skippable warning before several movies on the Disney+ platform. Films that include the advisory so far are Peter Pan (1953), The Aristocats (1970), The Jungle Book (1967), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Dumbo (1941), Aladdin (1992), Fantasia (1940), and Swiss Family Robinson (1960).
"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. 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," the warning reads.
The warning also provides a URL for a Disney website called Stories Matter, where Disney explains that they've brought in a group of outside experts to advise the company as they assess their content to "ensure it accurately represents [their] global audiences."
The Stories Matter website points out specific negative and racist moments featured in certain movies that now have the warning. For instance, Disney says that Peter Pan "portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions."
And it appears that the warning may be added to more movies moving forward. According to the Stories Matter website, Disney says that "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."
The move to include a more specific warning on certain Disney titles comes amid a nationwide reckoning about past allowances of racism following the Black Lives Matter protests that swept the country over the summer. And this is not the first time in 2020 that Disney has worked to make amends. Earlier this year, the company announced they would be redesigning the Splash Mountain ride, as it's currently based on the movie Song of the South, which has long been criticized for its racist depictions.
If you're wondering why these particular Disney movies have earned a content warning, keep reading. And for more changes being made, find out which Familiar Logos Are Getting Transformations Due to Their Racist Origins.
The original Fantasia movie included a character named Sunflower, a dark-skinned centaurette who tends to the light-skinned centaurs. Despite this character being edited out of the movie decades ago, Disney has still chosen to include a content warning advisory for this movie due to its history of contributing to racist imagery. And for more movies with unfortunate stereotypes, check out these Classic '80s Movies That Have Been Called Out for Racism.
On the Stories Matter website, Disney notes that The Aristocats includes a cat that is a "racist caricature of East Asian peoples." According to the site, "This portrayal reinforces the 'perpetual foreigner' stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture." And for more instances of racism in Hollywood, these Celebrities Were Fired After Being Accused of Racism.
"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 Stories Matter site explains. And for more Disney movies that haven't aged well, check out these Disney Classics That Have Been Called Out for Racism.
Swiss Family Robinson
The pirates in Swiss Family Robinson are a "stereotypical foreign menace," Disney now says. The Stories Matter website explains, "Many appear in 'yellow face' or 'brown face' and are costumed in an exaggerated and inaccurate manner with top knot hairstyles, queues, robes and overdone facial make-up and jewelry, reinforcing their barbarism and 'otherness.' They speak in an indecipherable language, presenting a singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.