Disney+ Adds Content Warnings to ‘Peter Pan,’ ‘The Aristocats,’ and ‘Dumbo’
Next time you open Disney+ and press play on some classic films like "Peter Pan" an "Dumbo," you'll notice a content warning. Disney has invited the feedback from organizations such as the African American Film Critics Association, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and GLAAD to review their films for any content deemed problematic.
At the beginning of the films that have been flagged, a message will appear reading, "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," Walt Disney Co. said in a statement. "Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe."
If you go back and watch these movies, you'll be able to pick up on the subtle racism. Disney points out that In “The Aristocats,” there is a cat "depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth." Disney adds, “he sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks.”
The content warning for “Dumbo,” states that “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." And of course, you surely remember the leader of the group in 'Dumbo' is Jim Crow, which is also the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.
The racism in “Peter Pan,” should be easy to recall. There are several depictions of indigenous people mockingly portrayed. The movie shows them "speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as 'redskins,' an offensive term,” Disney adds, “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."
There's also blatant forms of racism in “The Swiss Family Robinson.” There are pirates wearing "yellow face" and "brown face" while dressed in costumes that convey "barbarism and 'otherness.'"