Disney has placed a restriction on several of their classic movies for children under the age of seven on their popular streaming service Disney+ following an assessment of the media giants assets.
Many Disney staples such as Dumbo, Peter Pan, and The Aristocats are being flagged by the company due to racial stereotypes and offensive undertones in many of the characters. At one point during a musical interlude in the 1941 classic Dumbo, the film was accused of ridiculing enslaved African-Americans on Southern plantations with faceless black workers toil away to offensive lyrics such as, ‘When we get our pay, we throw our money all away’.
According to a report in the NNPA a Disney official notes the crows and musical numbers pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where White performers in black face imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations.
“Dumbo” on its streaming platform. “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,” the statement continued.
Peter Pan’s depiction of a Native Americans by calling them “Redskins” and Aristocats caricature of a Chinese people with the Siamese cat character called Shun Gon, whose slanted eyes and prominent teeth have been described as a caricature of East Asian people.
The report also noted that while the programming is restricted against being shown to small children, others will still be able to watch after viewing a new disclaimer that notes that the program includes “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.”
Other companies that have acknowledged a racial and cultural awakening since the May 2020 death of George Floyd, owners of the Dr. Seuss books announced earlier this month that it would no longer publish six of its books because of racist imagery.
New York Times columnist Charles Blow also highlighted what he viewed as the incentive Looney Tunes character “Pepe Le Pew” in a tweet that the character was indicative to young boys that non-consensual behavior toward women was ok.
“Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping,” Blow tweeted.
Disney’s website released a statement on its commitment to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the diversity of the human experience around the globe.
‘We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of,’ the statement read.
Disney watchers can expect these changes immediately for more on what classics have been moved visit their website for more details.