Children can no longer watch Dumbo, Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Aristocats on Disney’s Disney+ streaming service while using the “Kids Profile” mode, which filters out titles flagged with content warnings — including scenes now deemed racist.
“Titles with a content advisory notice related to negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures have been excluded,” Disney explains on its online help center.
The move comes after the company had previously flagged films for portraying racial stereotypes. Now, they have been excluded from its ostensibly child-friendly restricted mode.
Disney goes into detail on the “Stories Matter” section of its website, where the company explains its decision-making process for slapping content advisories onto the films, forbidding children to watch them.
In Dumbo, “the crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations,” Disney explains.
The company adds that “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.”
Meanwhile, Peter Pan has been dropped due to its portrayal of “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,” the company says, adding that “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.”
As for Swiss Family Robinson, “the pirates who antagonize the Robinson family are portrayed as a stereotypical foreign menace,” Disney explains.
“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,'” the company adds. “They speak in an indecipherable language, presenting a singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples.”
The fourth “racist” film, The Aristocats, is under fire for a cartoon cat that “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,” Disney says, adding that the portrayal reinforces a “perpetual foreigner” stereotype, and that the film mocks the Chinese language by featuring lyrics, which state, “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.”
“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the advisory adds. “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.”
Therefore, it is now up to parents if they want their children to watch the cartoons.