Disney+ is blocking kids from certain films due to negative stereotypes

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

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Disney+ has made moves to block children from accessing films like Peter Pan, Dumbo, The Aristocats, and Swiss Family Robinson because of their depiction of negative stereotypes. It's a pretty bold move that is bound to get a polarized reaction but the platform seems to believe they're making the right decision.

Profiles for children under 7 will no longer be able to access the aforementioned titles although they are still available to stream on adult Disney+ profiles. The reason for the block is due to "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures." The films will have a disclaimer attached to them on adult Disney+ profiles which is the same move that was made when Gone With the Wind was removed and then added back on the streamer. Here is what the disclaimer will say ahead of playing these films:

"These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. 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."

The Stories Matter section of its website details why each of these films has aspects that are deemed offensive. In the case of Dumbo, that includes the crows who "pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States."  Peter Pan is added to this list because of the way the movie "portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions. It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as 'redskins', an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples' culture and imagery."

The Aristocats runs into problems because one feline is "depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks. This portrayal reinforces the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture." Finally, the live-action film Swiss Family Robinson comes under fire for its portrayal of pirates. Disney notes that "the pirates who antagonize the Robinson family are portrayed as a stereotypical foreign menace. Many appear in 'yellow face' or 'brown face' and are costumed in an exaggerated and inaccurate manner with top knot hairstyles, queues, robes, and overdone facial make-up and jewelry, reinforcing their barbarism and 'otherness.' They speak in an indecipherable language, presenting a singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples."

Disney is also taking action to make their Disney Parks more inclusive. The iconic Jungle Cruise ride is getting some changes after years of criticism over its negative depictions of cultures. The theme park is also overhauling Splash Mountain due to its connections to the 1946 movie Song of the South. That film has been the subject of criticism for many years over its portrayal of African-Americans.

Do YOU agree with Disney's decision?

Source: The Walt Disney Company

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