Disney has a warning for you before you sit down to watch “Dumbo” or “Lady and the Tramp” on its new Disney+ streaming service.
“This program is presented as originally created,” warnings on these and some other older Disney movies read.
“It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
In its reporting on the warnings, Breitbart noted that in the original 1941 version of “Dumbo,” a flock of crows perform in a way that, in 2019, might appear to some to be a racist denigration of African-Americans.
As for “Lady and the Tramp,” the original 1955 animated film contained two Siamese cats snidely speaking in Asian-accented voices.
The warnings led to a lot of conversation on social media:
Social justice trigger warnings, omg. https://t.co/b7lVsjYQiq
— Hannah Bleau 🍓 (@hannahbleau_) November 12, 2019
— Alan Taylor (@alantaylor1) November 12, 2019
This is ridiculous! People would have content warnings on everything if they could, I swear. Take those down, and while you’re at it, release Song of the South so people can watch it again!https://t.co/TsNNNExFhc via @thisisinsider
— Crystal J. Lynn (@Blind_Wordsmith) November 12, 2019
Writing on Cinemablend, commentator Dirk Libbey said Disney had a dilemma when going back into its vaults for films to put up on Disney+.
“Certain cultural depictions that were viewed as entirely normal at the time when they were created, can be seen with a modern eye as being quite inappropriate,” he wrote.
“Disney’s most famous example of a piece of media aging badly is ‘Song of the South,’ a movie deemed so inappropriate today, that it hasn’t been released on the new Disney+ streaming service, and likely won’t ever be.”
Disney was probably being a bit overcautious, though, he wrote.
“The disclaimer also exists on several of the early Mickey Mouse shorts that being spotlighted on Disney+. Many of them don’t really have any problematic material in them, but still contain the note. It appears that Disney has simply decided to add the disclaimer to all of the service’s early material in order to cover all bases,” Libbey wrote.
But ultimately, Libbey said Disney made the right call.
“This is probably the best way to go,” he wrote.
“While simply not broadcasting the problematic material, you prevent re-offending the parties who are being improperly characterized. At the same time, wiping it from history has the potential to make it appear that the wrong decision was never made in the first place, and if we don’t embrace mistakes, we don’t learn from them.”
Disney+ launched Tuesday, but technical difficulties marked the service’s debut for many.
The commercial-free service goes for $7 per month.
Disney touted the service by saying it provides access to 500 family-style movies and 7,500 episodes of various TV shows, according to Fox Business.
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