Disney+ changes Dumbo and Peter Pan to adults-only 'due to negative stereotypes'

By Claire Schofield
Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th March 2021, 3:44 pm
 Dumbo, Peter Pan and The Aristocats have been removed from the children's section of the streaming service (Photo: Shutterstock/Disney)
Dumbo, Peter Pan and The Aristocats have been removed from the children's section of the streaming service (Photo: Shutterstock/Disney)

Disney+ has changed a selection of its classic films to adults-only, due to their “negative depictions” of other cultures.

The move means children will no longer be able to watch the films, which include Dumbo, Peter Pan and The Aristocats, in the kids sections of the streaming service.

Removing negative stereotypes

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    Disney has been taking steps to ensure that the content on its streaming service is both inclusive and representative of today’s audiences, meaning some of its older films have now been cut from children’s profiles.

    The removal comes as some film’s portray outdated stereotypes of ethinic minority groups and cultures.

    For Dumbo, Disney explained that “the crows and musical numbers pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations”.

    Peter Pan has been removed as the film “portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions,” and “shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as ‘redskins,’ an offensive term”.

    Meanwhile, The Aristocats was removed for depicting a “racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits, such as slanted eyes and buck teeth”.

    “Stories Matter”

    On the company’s “Stories Matter” website, Disney explains that it is in the process of reviewing its library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures, as part of its ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    As such, settings on the streaming site will deter children from watching some once-loved films and said on profiles set up for children, “titles with a content advisory notice related to negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures have been excluded.”

    Disney added that there may be some variations in the availability of specific titles when using the kids profile in different regions, suggesting some users may still have access to the films.

    However, all adult profiles will still have access to the kids’ content that has been removed, but will now be shown disclaimers with a warning.

    The warning states: “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."

    Other classics that will include the warning will be the 1955 love story Lady and the Tramp and the 1960 film Swiss Family Robinson.