Disney, which reportedly signed up more than 10 million subscribers on the first day of the Disney+ streaming service, has added content warnings to a number of classic animated films appearing on the service, IGN reports.
Specifically, the warnings caution viewers about “outdated cultural depictions” in the movies. “This program is presented as originally created,” the warning is quoted saying. “It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
“First noticed by Twitter user @324_B21, and reported by Mashable, films like the original 1941 ‘Dumbo,’ ‘The Aristocats,’ ‘Jungle Book,’ the 1955 animated ‘Lady and the Tramp’ all feature the same ‘outdated culturual depictions’ warning,” IGN reports. “The warning understandably stems from some of the racial stereotypes Disney has employed in certain characters and scenes in its earlier films. Dumbo has been criticized in the past for depicting a group of wise-cracking crows using African-American stereotypes of the time. With a white actor voicing the crow, some, like the Washington Post, have called it the vocal equivalent of blackface.”
The report adds: “The original ‘Lady and the Tramp’ film infamously depicts a pair of Siamese cats taunting Lady via a song, using exaggerated Asian accents and deliberately butchered English. The cats also feature large buck teeth, a common Asian stereotype from that era.”
The report notes that a 2019 live-action remake of the film turned the cats into a pair named Devon and Rex, voiced by two black musicians.
IGN also reports: “Similarly, ‘The Jungle Book’ has been criticized for employing some African/African-American racial stereotypes to depict a group of monkeys, even going so far as to have another character call them ‘mangy’ and ‘flea-picking,’ among other problematic elements.”
Disney’s “Song of the South” has not been included on Disney+. “Of all Disney films, ‘Song of the South’ has been perhaps criticized the most thanks to its depiction of African slaves,” IGN adds.