Peter Pan and Jungle Book amongst classic Disney films issued with updated racism warning
“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”
A number of classic Disney movies have been updated with a content advisory notice for racism that appears when they're played on the Disney+ streaming service.
An advisory message has appeared on certain identified titles since last year, including classic Disney movies such as Peter Pan, Jungle Book and Dumbo, but has been updated with a lengthier explanation of why certain content has been identified.
The updated content advisory reads: “This programme 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.
“Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
Specific explanations for why advisory warnings have been issued for certain titles are included on the Disney website (see explanations for Dumbo and Peter Pan below).
“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 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.”
Other titles that come with a content advisory warning include Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats and Swiss Family Robinson.
The advisory warning is an update of one first issued on identified content last November, which read: "This programme is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions."
More information is available on the Disney website at www.disney.com/StoriesMatter.
Main image via The Walt Disney Company