Story at a glance
- A petition posted to Change.org is asking Disney to remove all mentions of its 1946 film “Song of the South” from the classic log flume ride Splash Mountain.
- The film has been criticized for its stereotypes of black people and its nostalgic depiction of the antebellum South.
- The petition is calling on Disney to retheme Splash Mountain into “The Princess and the Frog” themed ride. The film features Disney’s first black princess.
Some Disney fans are calling on the The Walt Disney Co. to change the theme one of their most iconic rides.
A petition posted to Change.org is asking Disney to remove all mentions of its 1946 film “Song of the South” from the classic log flume ride Splash Mountain, a major attraction at both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.
The film, a story about life on a southern plantation best known for the song “Zip-a-dee-doo-dah,” is considered by some to be racist, criticized for its stereotypes of black people and its nostalgic depiction of the antebellum South. The NAACP has said the film gave the “impression of an idyllic master-slave relationship,” according to The New York Times.
Disney decided against releasing the film on its streaming service Disney+, and former Disney CEO Bob Iger said in 2019 the film is “not appropriate in today’s world,” Newsweek reports.
The ride’s storyline is not an exact depiction of the film, but includes animated characters such as Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear.
“While the ride is considered a beloved classic it’s history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South” the petition reads. “Disney has removed Song of the South from its library, refusing to share it on DVD or their streaming services. The best next step to remove all traces of this racist movie would be to re-theme Splash Mountain into a Princess and the Frog themed ride.”
Tiana, the main character in “The Princess and the Frog,” is recognized as being Disney’s first African American princess.
More than 10,000 people have signed the online petition as of Thursday. The petition’s current goal is set at 15,000 signatures.
Meanwhile, a separate petition that has gained more than 30,000 signatures is calling on Disney to stop casting white people to play characters of color and to hire minorities for those roles.
“Disney claims to care about people of color, but they continue to cast white men and women in fake spray tans for these particular roles. Important characters such as; Jasmine, Pocahontas, Moana, Black Panther, Li Shang, and Aladdin, within the Disney entertainment arenas around the world, need to be played by the people of color they were brought to life by,” the description of the petition reads.
The calls for change come as the country is reckoning with racial injustice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Floyd’s death sparked large-scale protests and prompted local governments and protesters to remove or damage controversial Confederate statues and monuments.
READ MORE ABOUT THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS