Last year, the streaming service added content warnings to content considered to have outdated depictions that appeared as a smaller text box on screen. The updated disclosure appears when a user clicks on the film, with the label lasting onscreen for about 10 seconds.
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures,” the new label reads. “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. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
In November 2019, a shorter content warning was added to movies such as “Dumbo” due to racist depictions found in the films created by Disney in the 1940s and ’50s.
“This program is presented as originally created,” the warning previously said. “It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”
The updated screen also offers a link to Disney.com/StoriesMatter, which includes a PSA and information on the impact of diverse storytelling on culture. The short video includes statements by a number of entertainment professionals, including Geena Davis, Gil Robertson, Gloria Calderón Kellett and Cristela Alonzo.
Since the inception of Disney Plus, the company has also notably opted not to include its 1946 musical film “Song of the South” in its list of content. The movie has not been available in any format for more than three decades, presumably because of its racist depictions of Black Americans.
Disney’s actions reflect the entertainment industry’s reckoning with the racism inherent in content from previous decades. Other streaming sites have also made steps to acknowledge the negative portrayals of people of color in movies and shows on their services. HBO Max pulled “Gone With the Wind” from the streaming service in June but later restored the film with a notice that the film “denies the horrors of slavery.”
Shows like “30 Rock” and “Community,” which are much more recent than the Disney films labeled for their negative depictions, have also had episodes pulled from streaming sites for use of blackface.
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