It looks like new streaming service Disney+ is already trying to save itself from outrage. They are putting disclaimers in their older films for potential racism or racist themes. Many of their older films such as Peter Pan, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp now have a disclaimer included that says they “may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
The streaming service notes that these movies receive criticism in the past for their ‘outdated cultural depictions.’ Furthermore, films like The Aristocats, Fantasia, and The Jungle Book even have this disclaimer. However, this little disclaimer is buried in the description area of its movies if people care to read them before watching.
Why do Disney+ films need a racism disclaimer?
The best example of this would be in the classic film Dumbo. There is a character by the name of Jim Crow who speaks in an accent that is a parody of a black American accent. The Aristocats and Lady and the Tramp also feature Siamese cats that speak in voices parodying East Asian accents. Additionally, all of the voices were performed by white actors.
Furthermore, in Peter Pan, many deem their depiction of Native Americans to be racist. A lot of people don’t understand why Disney+ needed to do this for such classic and beloved films, but others sounded off on Twitter on how much they love Disney+ for doing that.
Some people love it, some people hate it
One of the first things I noticed while looking around #DisneyPlus was "This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions." And I love that.
— Maskypi (@Mattypi0225) November 12, 2019
Another person says, “Look at #DisneyPlus letting the people know early that their old films were racist and culturally insensitive. Accountability is key, and historical context is important.” However, another person chimes in not exactly thrilled with Disney+ (seen in the tweet below).
i think it's the fact that disney is trying to gloss over the fact that some of the shit is flat out racist by calling them "outdated cultural depictions" like the crows from the original dumbo movie were pretty much racist black caricatures
— 👄 mary whoore 👄 (@st1nk_f1nger) November 13, 2019
There are certain Disney films that did not make it onto the streaming service, perhaps for being too culturally insensitive. Song of the South is one of them. However, in another classic, some scenes have been edited out. In Fantasia, there is a dark-skinned centaur by the name of Sunflower. She takes care of the lighter-skinned centaurs and this scene has been edited out.
Disney+ isn’t the only company putting out these disclaimers. Warner Bros. has actually been doing this for its Tom and Jerry cartoons. Warner Bros.’ disclaimers say that they were “were commonplace in American society,” and they were “wrong then and are wrong today.”
Warner Bros has been doing the same thing with their home video cartoon releases. Their disclaimer is way better than Disney’s. pic.twitter.com/APyzyih06n
— Paul Sanchez 🇵🇷 (@PhotogSanchez) November 12, 2019
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