Disney Plus Includes Warnings About ‘Outdated’ Racist Content
Earlier this year, there were a lot of reports in the press that when some of Disney’s older movies appeared on their new Disney+ streaming service they would be edited to remove some of the more culturally and racially insensitive material. The most prominent example was the original animated version of Dumbo, which features a group of crows who display stereotypical characteristics of African Americans. Supposedly when Dumbo showed up on Disney+, the crows would be gone.
But Disney+ is here, Dumbo is on it, and so are the crows. Instead, Dumbo and certain older titles like it and Peter Pan include a disclaimer as part of their plot synopsis. It reads “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.” You can see it on Dumbo’s Disney+ page below:
The disclaimer isn’t on all of Disney’s movies; it’s missing from The Reluctant Dragon even though that film includes at least one scene with extremely dated Asian stereotypes. And Disney didn’t include every film it has produced on Disney+. The infamous Song of the South, long regarded the company’s most racist film, has been kept out of the public eye for decades, and it’s nowhere to be found on Disney+.
Given the rumors that these movies would be edited for Disney+, the choice to instead post (most of) them in full with a content warning is interesting. A little additional context could have been nice, perhaps even as a special feature — every film on Disney+ has an “EXTRAS” section you can see above where deleted scenes, trailers, and other such supplements are included — so that viewers could watch to enhance their understanding of these films and their eras. But I think it’s better than nothing — and better than truncating the films without explanation.
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Gallery — The Disney Movies We Can’t Believe They Actually Allowed on Disney+: