Disney has accused itself of racism by slapping warnings on its classic films such as Peter Pan, Dumbo, The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, Song of the South, and The Jungle Book.
The Disney+ streaming service will now begin by notifying viewers upfront if a film contains “negative racial depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”
Despite noting the “harmful impact” of their “racist” depictions of non-white ethnic groups and their cultures, Disney has decided not to cancel itself, or even remove the so-called offensive content from its platform.
Instead, the streaming service will now pretend they’re making the content available for educational purposes and to help further an inclusive society. Isn’t it funny how selective “Cancel Culture” can be?
Films that require the warning will now be introduced with a notice that reads:
“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.”
According to BBC News, the racism and stereotypes in classic Disney films include:
- Lady and the Tramp (1955): Two Siamese cats, Si and Am, are depicted with anti-Asian stereotypes. There is also a scene at a dog pound where heavily-accented dogs all portray the stereotypes of the countries their breeds are from – such as Pedro the Mexican Chihuahua, and Boris the Russian Borzoi.
- The Aristocats (1970): A Siamese cat called Shun Gon, voiced by a white actor, is drawn as a racist caricature of an Asian person. He plays the piano with chopsticks.
- Dumbo (1941): A group of crows that help Dumbo learn how to fly have exaggerated stereotypical black voices. The lead crow is called Jim Crow – a reference to a set of racist segregationist laws in the southern US at the time – and he is voiced by a white actor, Cliff Edwards.
- Jungle Book (1968): The character of King Louie, an ape with poor linguistic skills, sings in a Dixieland jazz style and is shown as lazy. The character has been criticised for being a racist caricature of African-Americans.
- Peter Pan (1953): The film refers to Native people as “redskins”, a racist slur. Peter and the Lost Boys also dance in headdresses, which Disney now says is a “form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery”. A song originally called “What makes the red man red” was also decried as racist – it was later renamed as “What makes the brave man brave.”
- Song of the South (1946): One of Disney’s most controversial movies, which has never been released on video or DVD in the US. Its depiction of plantation worker Uncle Remus perpetuates an old racist myth that slaves were happy in the cotton fields.