Disney movies Peter Pan, Dumbo get racism advisories

LOS ANGELES • Classic Disney animated movies Peter Pan (1953), The Aristocats (1970) and Dumbo (1941) have been given content advisory notices warning viewers that they contain outdated or stereotyped depictions of people of colour.

The advisories, the latest example of Hollywood's reckoning with racism, come in the form of a short graphic on the Disney+ streaming service as some of the older films are selected for viewing.

"This programme includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures," the on-screen advice reads.

"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," it adds.

Disney said on its website that the advisories were part of a review of its library content.

The movie studio said that the film Peter Pan refers to native people as "redskins" and that the dancing in headdresses by Peter and the Lost Boys is a "form of mockery and appropriation of native people's culture and imagery".

For The Aristocats, the advisory refers to one of the felines, noting that it "sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks".

Other movies dating back to the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with the new warning include The Lady And The Tramp (1955), Swiss Family Robinson (1960) and The Jungle Book (1967).

In June, amid massive nationwide protests in the United States over police brutality and racial injustice, the US Civil War-era film Gone With The Wind (1939) was briefly pulled from the HBO Max streaming service.

It reappeared two weeks later with a commentary about the brutality of slavery.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2020, with the headline 'Disney movies Peter Pan, Dumbo get racism advisories'. Print Edition | Subscribe