Disney+ subscribers selecting Peter Pan or The Aristocats for viewing will now be met with new content advisories likely to get their notice: “This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”
The updated content warnings for other classic Disney animated and live action titles like Swiss Family Robinson and Dumbo follow the studio consulting with a third-party advisory council that includes groups like the African American Film Critics Association, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment and GLAAD.
Disney+ has put warnings about “outdated cultural depictions” on its film titles since launching, but the latest updated language goes further in cautioning against racist and culturally insensitive depictions in its movies.
“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,” the studio says as part of a new Stories Matter website.
And earlier Disney+ warnings appeared only on the content details page for titles. The updated disclaimers are now viewable on the details page and before content streams.
As examples of its updated warnings, Disney points to a cat “depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth” in The Aristocats, and in Dumbo “the crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations,” the streaming platform cautions.
Elsewhere in Peter Pan, Disney warns the animated classic uses stereotypes to depict Indigenous people, in particular they are seen “speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as ‘redskins,’ an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.”
And The Swiss Family Robinson is cited for pirates depicted as a “stereotypical foreign menace,” as they wear “yellow face” or “brown face” and costumes that emphasize their ” barbarism and ‘otherness.'”
Other experts recruited by Disney to its advisory council include representatives from Define American, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Hollywood, Health & Society, Illuminative, NALIP and RespectAbility.