Today, Disney introduced updated trigger warnings about racist content in a number of their classic animated films, including Dumbo and Peter Pan.
Disney updates content warning for racism in classic films such as Dumbo and Peter Pan https://t.co/RYXhGvhdBo— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 16, 2020
According to a report by the BBC, selected titles on the Disney+ streaming service begin with a message that addresses the company’s past missteps.
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. 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.”
Examples of offensive content include Jim Crow, a character from the 1941 film Dumbo. The name is a reference to outdated segregationist laws, and its voice—contributed by a white actor—draws upon racist stereotypes of African Americans.
In the 1953 production of Peter Pan, the film includes calling Native Americans “redskins,” as well as a scene of Peter and the Lost Boys dancing in headdresses, which Disney has gone on record acknowledging as a “form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.”
The latest disclaimer is an extension of a warning that was originally introduced last year. “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions,” read the original version.
Disney’s efforts to take accountability and dig deeper into its history comes with the help of a diverse advisory council. Members include representatives from CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment), Define American, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and the GLAAD Media Institute, to name a few. They’ve also launched a Stories Matter website to address past errors and make a public commitment to be more inclusive moving forward.