October 15, 2020
Disney+ has quietly beefed up its warnings on select classic movies that may feature content that could be interpreted as racially insensitive. Movies reportedly affected include Dumbo, Peter Pan, Fantasia and Lady and the Tramp. A 10-second warning placed in front of the film states it features racial depictions that were inappropriate when the movie first debuted, and are inappropriate today.
The disclaimer is also part of the film’s profile page and encourages viewers to visit a link outlining how movies can showcase popular culture and how society sees itself in a given moment in time. The “Stories Matter” link includes a PSA and video clip featuring statements by Geena Davis, Gil Robertson, Gloria Calderón Kellett and Cristela Alonzo stressing the importance of diversity and inclusion in the media and society.
Disney had been including disclaimers that older movies might contain “outdated cultural depictions” since it launched in November 2019. The addition of the warnings to the films themselves mirrors efforts by HBO Max over the summer to remove Oscar-winning classic Gone With the Wind from the SVOD platform. The movie was returned to Max with a disclaimer that it “denies the horrors of slavery.”
Disney’s infamous 1946 musical classic Song of the South is not available on the subscription streaming platform due to racial stereotypes and criticisms over its depictions of former slaves.