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Disney adds disclaimer to movies on Disney+ with racist caricatures

Disney+ debuted with all the classic Disney animated movies you know and love like Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, Fantasia, and more. Still, many of these films and others come with a disclaimer about its racist content. 

Since its launch on Tuesday, subscribers are noticing certain films’ descriptions come with a disclaimer added by Disney. The disclaimer reads, “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

Of course, it’s no surprise that films from decades ago contained racist content in them, but many users took to Twitter to voice their opinions on Disney’s approach to it, comparing how Disney handled the content to how Warner Bros. handled its older cartoons. 

Disney, as ever, is glacially resistant to recognize any wrongdoing on their part, ever, in any circumstances, much preferring to hide their racist past in the Disney Vault when possible, or paper it over with remakes that pretend the problematic shit was never there.

— TBSkyen (@TBSkyen) November 13, 2019

How much time do you think Disney spent in the past year screening its old movies for racist and sexist jokes before putting them on Disney+?

— David Gardner (@byDavidGardner) October 14, 2019

There was speculation that Disney would change up some of its more outdated content in some of its films, or omit it from the movie altogether. One particular scene was the crow scene from Dumbo in which one of the crows is named Jim Crow — a derogatory term that was used toward black people and a reference to the laws that established segregation. 

One scene that Disney did decide to omit was the Sunflower character in Fantasia. Sunflower is a black centaurette whose role is to assist the other centaurettes in getting ready, and it’s pretty clear that it is a racist caricature. 

Other Disney movies that viewers are now realizing were racist this whole time are Peter Pan, for its depiction of Native Americans, and The Jungle Book, for the orangutans as being racist caricatures. Still, it’s important to remember that a majority of these original animated movies were made between the 1940s and 1960s. 

Turns out Disney DIDN’T censor the crows from Dumbo, and they’ve included a disclaimer about outdated sensibilities. Good. Yes, they’re racist, but it would have messed with the flow of the movie, and it’s better to learn from history instead of pretend it didn’t happen.

— Darla Dimple (@PowerLoudGirl) November 12, 2019

Despite subscribers’ realization that some of the favorite films they grew up with had racist tendencies, Disney+ is off to a pretty good start since it launched. The Walt Disney Company said that the new streaming service had seen 10 million sign-ups since its launch. 

The service launched on Tuesday in the U.S., Canada, and the Netherlands with more than 600 TV shows and movies. 

Digital Trends reached out to Disney to comment on the “cultural depictions” disclaimer and how many movies on the streaming service have it, but we haven’t received a response. 

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Allison Matyus
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Allison Matyus is a general news reporter at Digital Trends. She covers any and all tech news, including issues around social…
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