Lianne Kolirin, CNN, October 16, 2020
Disney+ subscribers who log on to watch classic films like “Lady and the Tramp” or “Peter Pan” now see stronger advisory messages warning of racist content.
“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,” Disney said in a statement online.
Now, once viewers press play, they see the following message, which cannot be fast forwarded: “This programme includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were 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.”
Viewers are then directed to a page on the company’s website headlined “Stories Matter,” which explains the revised policy.
The site highlights some of the films that carry the advisory, explaining why they have been selected.
Of the 1970 film “The Aristocats,” it says: “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.
“Dumbo,” released in 1942, includes a warning because of the crows, which “pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations.”
“Peter Pan,” which hit movie theaters in 1953, “portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions.”
Among the other films highlighted are “The Jungle Book,” “Fantasia,” live-action movie “The Swiss Family Robinson” and “Aladdin,” which was made as recently as 1992.