Disney+ adds disclaimers for racist depictions in old movies like 'Peter Pan,' 'Dumbo'

Disney+ adds disclaimers for racist depictions in old movies like 'Peter Pan,' 'Dumbo'
© Disney+

Popular Disney titles like “Peter Pan,” “The Aristocats” and “Dumbo,” which include racist stereotypes of Native Americans, African Americans and Asians, are now labeled with a disclaimer on the company’s new streaming service, Disney+.

The description for movies previously criticized for racist portrayals includes a last line that warns viewers “it may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

The 1953 film “Peter Pan” has long been criticized for its depiction of Native Americans. Cats featured in both “The Aristocats” and “Lady and The Tramp” feature offensive parodies of Asian accents voice by white actors, BuzzFeed News noted.

Disney’s disclaimer, however, was criticized by some on Twitter for not being as explicit as a similar warning from Warner Bros. on “Tom and Jerry Cartoons.”

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“The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time,” the WB 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. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”

The Hill has reached out to Disney for comment.

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Before the highly anticipated launch of the streaming service, it was reported that Disney would edit out a controversial scene in the 1941 movie “Dumbo” which featured a crow character named Jim Crow which speaks in a way that appears to parody black Americans.

However, frustrated viewers noted that the scene is still in the film with the disclaimer.

BuzzFeed News noted that a scene from “Fantasia,” however, has been edited out because it depicts a dark-skinned centaur named Sunflower taking care of lighter-skinner centaurs.

“Song of the South,” a post-Civil War story of a young white boy who moves to his grandmother’s plantation and befriends an African American character named Uncle Remus, is not available for streaming on the vast Disney+ library.

The 1946 film grossed $65 million at the U.S. box office and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song “Zip-a-Dee-Do-Dah” but has never been released on home video or DVD due to its glorified depiction of life for former slaves on a plantation.

Disney CEO Bob Iger in 2011 said the film “wouldn’t necessarily sit right or feel right to a number of people today” and that there wasn’t a business case for it.

“It wouldn’t be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain,” he said.

After suffering technical glitches during Tuesday’s rollout, Disney+ surpassed more than 10 million signups on its first day. 

The service costs $7 a month or $70 a year after a free seven-day trial. Disney did not disclose where the subscriptions came from or if they were free, paid monthly or yearly.