Disney +, the long-awaited streaming service from the entertainment giant is finally here, and with it comes an endless list of classic movies and television shows that many parents are eager to share with their children. However, times have changed (thankfully!) since many of Disney's original movies were filmed forcing Disney + to add disclaimers to many of their old movies.
Many of Disney's older films were created during a time of greater gender and race inequality that has been reflected in these films, meaning the company has included a content warning ahead of some films like Dumbo, The Aristocats, Jungle Book, Fantasia, and Lady and the Tramp, Entertainment Weekly announced.
Dumbo and other old movies get a content warning on Disney+ https://t.co/03GsapEw06— Entertainment Weekly (@EW) November 12, 2019
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Just after outlining the general plot of the movie, some will then state that "this program is presented as originally created," with some movies like The Jungle Book adding, "it may contain outdated cultural depictions." The same warning precedes the movie Dumbo. EW points out that the warning in Pinocchio is even more detailed saying, "contains tobacco depictions."
Disney has long been accused of perpetuating racist stereotypes and of cultural appropriation in many of their older movies. The New York Times reported that it was initially thought that Dumbo would remove the cigar-smoking crows that were said to be 'thinly veiled racist caricatures' from the movie when it was released on Disney +, but that obviously isn't the case, with Disney instead opting for the content warning.
One movie that won't be seen on Disney + regardless of the content warnings is Song of the South. The 1946 flick that gave the world the Oscar-winning song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" has long been criticized for its portrayal of African Americans. During a shareholder meeting in 2011, Disney CEO Bob Iger said that after viewing the film again, some scenes "wouldn't necessarily sit right or feel right to a number of people today" and that "it wouldn't be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back, even though there would be some financial gain," the Hollywood Reporter wrote.
Disney had made strides to more accurately reflect race and culture as they remake many of their classic movies. Variety reports that "The Siamese Cat" song from Lady and The Tramp, which was criticized for its apparent Asian stereotypes is being remade for the live-action remake.
Disney has yet to comment on its content warnings.