Disney+ is finally getting around to changing their wording of its disclaimer which warns viewers of racial stereotypes in classic Disney films.
Since November 2019, the streaming platform has replaced its original “outdated cultural depictions” warning with a 12-second advisory that can’t be skipped. The new disclaimer offers a more extensive warning about “negative depictions” and “mistreatment of people or cultures” in movies such as “Dumbo” (1941), “Peter Pan” (1953), “The Aristocats” (1970), “The Jungle Book” (1967) and the original “Lady and the Tramp.”
The updated disclaimer reads, “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.” It continues with, “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. To learn more about how stories have impacted society, please visit www.disney.com/StoriesMatter.” Viewers are then directed to a website that further explains the racially insensitive scenes.
For example, in the movie “Dumbo,” a crow named Jim Crow speaks with a stereotypical African-American accent, in “Peter Pan,” Native Americans are referred to as “redskins” and are portrayed as speaking in an unintelligible language. In both, “The Aristocats” and “Lady and The Tramp” they feature Siamese cats with stereotypical Asian accents. All of these characters voiced by white actors.
The website also notes that Disney is working toward inclusivity through its third-party advisory council, which includes organizations like the African American Film Critics Association and GLAAD: “They are supporting our efforts to increase our cultural competency by providing ongoing guidance and thought leadership on critical issues and shifting perceptions.”
One year after its original advisory, the revised language of the new disclaimer came with a much shorter message.
“This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
Twitter users were quick to notice the new disclaimer, one tweeter said, “much better content advisory warning.”
Others remained skeptical, one Twitter user @rapunzelariels wrote, “Instead of saying there ‘might’ be content that some ‘consider’ offensive, they flat out acknowledge some of their old movies are racist and take responsibility for it.”
Another user, @Masterge77 pointed out that “Warner Bros has been doing this for years.” They added, “I fail to see why it took Disney so long to get here.”