Disney has added a new advisory that displays before films on Disney+ that have been identified as including stereotypes and negative depictions of people or cultures.
The advisory, which is part of Disney’s “Stories Matter” initiative, includes a statement that displays on the screen for approximately 10-12 seconds before the unedited content.
Some of the films flagged as containing negative depictions include “Lady and the Tramp,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Aristocats,” “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan” and “Swiss Family Robinson.”
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the advisory reads in part. “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.”
The statement also has a link to page that includes an explanation of the content advisory and information about Disney’s advisory council.
“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,” Disney said in a statement on its website.
Disney previously displayed an advisory in the title details, but this marks the first time the company has placed an advisory on the screen prior to playing the content.
Disney is not the first company to display a content warning before its titles. In 2014, Warner Bros. displayed a message about prejudice before old Looney Tunes cartoons.
On its website, Disney also provided the following explanations for the content advisory on four of its films:
Aristocats: “The cat 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 such as ‘Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.'”
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. 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: “The film 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.”
Swiss Family Robinson: “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.”