Viewers of classic Disney films such as Dumbo, Peter Pan and Jungle Book will now see a warning on content containing racism and stereotypes prior to the start of the said films on streaming service Disney+.
BBC reported that the content advisory notice aims to address the “negative depictions” and the “mistreatment” of certain groups of people and their cultures.
The notice stated that while Disney will not be removing such content, the company seeks to “acknowledge” the harm it has caused through such depictions.
“This program 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,” said Disney.
Examples of racism in the classic films are stereotypes about Black people in Dumbo, Asian stereotypes in Lady and the Tramp, yellowface in The Aristocats, and anti-indigenous slurs in Peter Pan.
Apparently, the company had previously added a warning about racism back in November last year.
“This programme is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions,” read the much shorter disclaimer.
Disney added warnings about racism, stereotypes and "mistreatment of people or cultures" in older animated films, like:
▪️"Dumbo" (racist Black stereotypes)
▪️"Lady & the Tramp" (racist Asian stereotypes)
▪️"The Aristocats" (yellowface)
▪️"Peter Pan" (anti-Indigenous slurs) pic.twitter.com/TbpgMkwhsM
— AJ+ (@ajplus) October 16, 2020
This particular move sparked a debate on both Facebook and Twitter, with netizens being divided between lauding Disney’s choice to acknowledge its past racist depictions of people of colour and thinking that Disney should not put up the disclaimer.
Many netizens supported the disclaimer while highlighting how Disney did not choose to “erase history” from a time when racism was heavily depicted in cartoons. They also believed that this is the “right way” to learn and progress from the past.
Another group of netizens — who mainly appear to be white — thought that it is unnecessary of Disney to display the warning.
Many of them claimed to not have noticed or thought of racism when watching the classic films as children.