In October, Disney+ added an expanded content warning to some movies. The films in question such as “Lady and the Tramp,” “Peter Pan,” “The Jungle Book” and “Dumbo” were flagged for “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.
Now the widely-used streaming service has removed some of those films and others from the profiles of young children.
The Walt Disney Company pulled “Dumbo,” “Peter Pan,” “The Aristocats” and “Swiss Family Robinson” from its offerings for children under 7 on Monday. This comes as they make strides towards diversity and inclusion, recognizing some of the archived material was outdated or doesn’t represent equality.
One Disney film that is not available on Disney+ is “Song of the South.” The 1946 movie, known for its racist depictions, also supplied the theme of the Splash Mountain rides at Walt Disney World and Disneyland, which are being redesigned to fit a “The Princess and the Frog” theme. The 2009 film stars Tiana, the first Black Disney princess.
Disney isn’t the only company acting to fix their content. Warner Bros., the parent company of Looney Tunes, said Monday that it would phase out animated character Pepé Le Pew from future productions.
The French skunk was the subject of a New York Times opinion piece written by Charles M. Blow who pointed out the theme of rape culture presented by the cartoons. He also criticized the depiction of Speedy Gonzales, noting his “friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans.” Blow, who has been a New York Times Op-Ed columnist since 2008, also called out the character Mammy Two Shoes, who he referred to as “a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Pepé Le Pew had already been written out of LeBron James’ Space Jam sequel more than a year ago. Lew Pew was in the original film starring Michael Jordan.”
THR went on to report “there are no current plans for the controversial cartoon skunk to return” for any future projects.
Space Jam hits theaters and HBO Max on July 16.
These separate announcements came a week after six Dr. Seuss book were pulled from shelves due to racist imagery.
“Dr. Seuss Enterprises listened and took feedback from our audiences including teachers, academics and specialists in the field as part of our review process. We then worked with a panel of experts, including educators, to review our catalog of titles,” it said.
Random House Children Books, Dr. Seuss’ publisher, issued a brief statement Tuesday. “We respect the decision of Dr. Seuss Enterprises and the work of the panel that reviewed this content last year, and their recommendation.”
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