Disney+ Expands Disclaimers for Racially Problematic Movies

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.

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Disney had been including disclaimers that older movies might contain “outdated cultural depictions” since it launched in November 2019.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.

WarnerMedia Returns ‘Gone With the Wind’ to HBO Max — With a Disclaimer

WarnerMedia has quietly returned Oscar-winning Gone With the Wind back to subscription streaming platform HBO Max after a two-week hiatus to address the movie’s alleged racism in the wake of social unrest involving Black Lives Matter and other issues.

WarnerMedia said the return of the 1939 classic to Max includes two sidebar videos explaining the historical context of the original motion picture starring Clark Cable, Vivien Leigh, Hattie McDaniel (the first African-American performer to win an Oscar) and Olivia de Havilland, who is still alive at age 103.

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The first video features WarnerMedia’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) host Jacqueline Stewart outlining the merits of the movie and discussing why it should be preserved and watched in its entirety. The second video includes a panel discussion, “The Complicated Legacy of Gone With the Wind,” moderated by film historian Donald Bogle at the TCM Classic Film Festival in April 2019.

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“The film’s treatment of this world through a lens of nostalgia denies the horrors of slavery, as well as its legacies of racial inequality,” Stewart says in the video. “Watching ‘Gone With the Wind’ can be uncomfortable, even painful. Still, it is important that classic Hollywood films are available to us in their original form for viewing and discussion.”