Disney Plus now shows a warning label for 6 movies that contain racist stereotypes
- Disney added a new advisory message that plays before six movies on its Disney Plus streaming platform.
- The message warns that the movies contain racial stereotypes that "were wrong then and are wrong now," and that the content perpetuates "negative depictions" of people and cultures.
- Movies that will display the advisory include "Peter Pan," "The Aristocats," "The Jungle Book," "Lady and the Tramp," "Dumbo," and "Swiss Family Robinson."
- The change is part of Disney's "Stories Matter" initiative, which is meant to improve how the company's stories represent all people and communities.
The Walt Disney Company has faced backlash in recent years for scenes in some of its movies that haven't aged well.
As part of its "Stories Matter" initiative, Disney recently announced that it added a new advisory to some of its films that are available on the Disney Plus streaming platform.The advisory message informs viewers that the movie they're about to watch contains racial stereotypes that "were wrong then and are wrong now," and that the content contains scenes that perpetuate "negative depictions" of people and cultures.
—Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) October 15, 2020
Disney identified six movies available on Disney Plus that are labeled with the new advisory — including "Peter Pan," "The Aristocats," "The Jungle Book," "Lady and the Tramp," "Dumbo," and "Swiss Family Robinson."The "Stories Matter" site also explains why those particular movies will feature the new warning by pinpointing the racist caricatures and stereotypes present in some of the films' scenes.
For example, referencing a scene from the 1953 animated movie "Peter Pan," Disney's website states: "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," the site continues.In another example, Disney points to a scene from "Dumbo," where a group of crows has a musical number that references Jim Crow laws and perpetuates anti-Black stereotypes.
"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," Disney's website reads.
The "Stories Matter" explanation continues: "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.'"In November 2019, Disney added a shorter content warning to some of its movies created in the 1940s and '50s, including "Dumbo." The original advisory message read: "This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions."
Instead of removing scenes from its movies, Disney says that it's using the new content advisories to spark a conversation about harmful stereotypes and improve representation in its content moving forward.
"We also want to acknowledge that some communities have been erased or forgotten altogether, and we're committed to giving voice to their stories as well," reads the "Stories Matter" website.However, one of Disney's older movies, 1946 "Song of the South," is not available on the Disney Plus platform, according to Variety.
In June, Disney announced — amid a petition to update the ride — that it would change Splash Mountain to be themed around the 2009 movie "The Princess and the Frog."Representatives for The Walt Disney Company did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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