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Culture

Disney+ added disclaimer to problematic older films instead of censoring them

Disney+ added disclaimer to problematic older films instead of censoring them

Art is reflective of life, and if you live in a time in history where racist stereotypes run rampant, then you're probably going to end up with movies that have a lot of problematic characters in them. Now that we know better, what do we do with all of the movies that are, to put it simply, racist AF?

Disney+ finally dropped, and already had 10 million subscribers in one day. By comparison, Hulu has 28 million subscribers, and Netflix has 60 million domestic subscribers. We're finally able to stream Disney classics from our childhoods, some of which haven't seen the light of day in decades. "Pete's Dragon" marathon, anyone?

Peppered with the Disney classics are movies with some questionable moments in them. Instead of cutting out the more problematic moments (such as the black crows in "Dumbo," including one literally named after the racist Jim Crow laws, or the Siamese cats in "Lady and the Tramp"), Disney decided to put a disclaimer in front of the films.

"Dumbo," "Peter Pan," "The Aristocats," "Lady and the Tramp," and "The Jungle Book" are the five films that bear a cultural warning stating, "This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions."


RELATED: Disney signed a contract with Indigenous leaders to portray culture respectfully in Frozen II

Some of the other films, like "The Three Caballeros" and "Pinocchio," have disclaimers saying the films depict tobacco use.

"Song of the South" is not available to stream at all, because that movie is a whole mess of problems that a disclaimer couldn't even begin to tackle. Disney previously announced that the 1946 film depicting African-Americans in a problematic way stay buried deep within the Disney vault, which is consistent with Disney policy on the film.

It was previously announced that Disney would edit out the problematic parts when the films were available to stream on Disney+, which came with its own controversy. Some felt that the edit was tantamount to censorship. Removing the racist stereotypes would deny us the opportunity to unpack what was wrong with them and grow from those mistakes.

Some Disney+ users laud Disney's decision to include the disclaimer with unedited versions of the old films.

RELATED: Snow White soothing a boy having an 'autism meltdown' will make you believe in Disney magic





Other users were critical of the disclaimers, saying it's giving lip-service to the wrongness of the offensive cultural stereotypes depicted in some of its films.






Disney isn't trying to hide its racist past, but it's more important that Disney doesn't try to repeat its racist past. Hopefully future generations will learn from the mistakes that were made and do better than those who came before them.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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