Fans of Disney movies now can enjoy classic movies like Peter Pan, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp on Disney+, but all of coming with a disclaimer that they “may contain outdated cultural depictions.
The channel showing the warning along with some movies that they might find it racist or otherwise offensive elements that have been criticized in the past. A message airs before classic films including “Dumbo” and “Peter Pan” on Disney Plus.
For example, in Dumbo, there is a crow whose name is Jim, who speaks in an accent that is a racist parody of an African American accent. The Aristocats and Lady and the Tramp show Siamese cats that speak in an offensive parody of East Asian accents.
People praised Disney for adding the disclaimers and taking responsibility for past mistakes.
“It feels like a first step,” said Michael Baran, a senior partner at the Illinois-based diversity and inclusion consulting firm InQUEST Consulting. “I think that they could be so much more forceful in not only what they are saying, in the warning, but also in what they’re doing.”
The disclaimers were compared with what Warner Bros. put on its iconic Tom and Jerry cartoons, which stated that these depictions “were commonplace in American society,” they were “wrong then and are wrong today.”
“The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time,” the Warner Bros. disclaimer reads. “They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today.”
Walt Disney Co. with his brother Roy O. Disney has been called racist and misogynistic. Walt Disney’s grandniece, also the filmmaker Abigail Disney, said in a statement in 2014, that she agreed with the negative assessment of her great uncle.
“Anti-Semite? Check. Misogynist? OF COURSE!! Racist? C’mon he made a film (‘Jungle Book’) about how you should stay ‘with your own kind’ at the height of the fight over segregation!” Abigail Disney wrote on Facebook. “As if the ‘King of the Jungle’ number wasn’t proof enough!! How much more information do you need?”
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