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Disney+ adds new content warning for racist depictions in films

Los Angeles, California - Classic movies that feature racist stereotypes and other problematic elements now include a new content warning on Disney+.

The Disney+ streaming service launched in November 2019 (stock image).
The Disney+ streaming service launched in November 2019 (stock image).  © Sergei Babenko/123rf

When viewers choose to play movies such as Dumbo, Aladdin, Peter Pan, The Aristocats and Swiss Family Robinson on the Disney streaming service, a written disclosure about its "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures" is presented on the screen for 12 seconds. The message cannot be skipped.

According to Disney's Stories Matter website, the company is in the process of reassessing past titles with an advisory council composed of outside organizations such as the African American Film Critics Association, the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, the National Association of Latino Independent Producers, the GLAAD Media Institute and others.

Instead of editing or removing library titles that have been identified as problematic, the aim is to acknowledge them and open up discussions so people can learn from those mistakes. Song of the South, a 1946 movie deemed so racist that it was never included in the Disney+ library, remains unavailable.

Disney ride based on racist movie to to be scrapped

Princess Tiana will soon be moving into Splash Mountain, as the ride will be rethemed to Princess and the Frog, ridding Disney of an attraction that has been associated with Song of the South.

Previously, some of these films included a shorter warning within the description on their individual homescreens. "This program is presented as originally created," it read. "It may contain outdated cultural depictions."

The full disclosure presented on these films now reads:

"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. 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 disclaimer ends with a link to a Disney page that explains the advisory in more detail and provides examples of problematic characters: "To learn more about how stories have impacted society, please visit www.disney.com/StoriesMatter."

Cover photo: tanaonte/123rf

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