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Disney+ Removes 'Peter Pan,' 'Dumbo' Because Of Its Racist Stereotypes

Disney+ Removes 'Peter Pan,' 'Dumbo' Because Of Its Racist Stereotypes

These titles, however, are available under the regular Disney + adult profile alongside its advisory that condemns its negative depictions

Walt Disney

Streaming service Disney Plus has quietly taken down a number of titles from its Kids Profile in line with its progressive policy to remove "negative depictions" and stereotypical portrayals. Among those removed are Peter Pan, The Aristocats, The Lady, and the Tramp, Dumbo, The Jungle Book, and the Swiss Family Robinson reports Polygon. These titles already had advisory descriptions but it appears that this wasn't enough. However, they are still available on the regular adult Disney+ accounts alongside the advisory that condemns the negative depictions. Last year, The Walt Disney Company launched the "Stories Matter" initiative with the aim to remedy some of its past mistakes. The latest move is in line with this course correction. "We can't change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn from it, and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of," reads the Stories Matter page.



 

 

It added, "As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures. Rather than removing this content, we see an opportunity to spark conversation and open dialogue on history that affects us all. We also want to acknowledge that some communities have been erased or forgotten altogether, and we're committed to giving voice to their stories as well." On the page, the aforementioned titles have been given as "examples of titles receiving an advisory" along with an explanation for why it is so. For instance, in Aristocrats, the advisory makes a mention of one of the characters, a cat, "depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth."



 

 

It further stated that the cat sang in "poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks." while adding that the portrayal reinforced "the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as "Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong." In Dumbo the page added, that the crow characters and musical numbers paid homage to "racist minstrel shows." This, the page stated, was reminiscent of "white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing" imitating and ridiculing enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. It noted, "The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States."



 

 

"In 'The Song of the Roustabouts,' faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like When we get our pay, we throw our money all away. Peter Pan was also explained to have portrayed Native Americans in a "stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions." The cartoon showed them speak in "an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as 'redskins,' an offensive term." It also showed the protagonist "dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples' culture and imagery," the page added. The advisory given with these titles in the Adult account of the service, reads: This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. 



 

It added: These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe. It's not just its titles that are undergoing a change. Other aspects of the Disney empire such as its parks are also scheduled to get a facelift to be less racist. This includes the Jungle Cruise ride. In a statement, Disney said it was going to make this attraction in Anaheim and Orlando "feel more inclusive and less racially insensitive in its depiction of other cultures."

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