Disney+ Now Restricts Access to Problematic Films Like Dumbo and Peter Pan to Kids Under 7 Years Old

Kate Schweitzer
·2 min read
RETURN TO NEVER LAND, from left: Jane (voice: Harriet Owen), Peter Pan (voice: Blayne Weaver), 2002. ph:  Walt Disney / Courtesy Everett Collection
RETURN TO NEVER LAND, from left: Jane (voice: Harriet Owen), Peter Pan (voice: Blayne Weaver), 2002. ph: Walt Disney / Courtesy Everett Collection

Disney+ has removed access to several classic movies - including Dumbo, Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Aristocats - from children's profiles as part of its ongoing campaign to assess its content for racist undertones and stereotypes.

The Walt Disney Company had previously placed content warnings on the films, beginning in October 2020, but now it is preventing children under 7 years old from viewing the titles from their profiles. Parents, however, will still be able to view the films or show them to their kids from their own profile menus if they so choose. If viewed, the four films will still include the previously added content warning, which appears on the screen for approximately 10 seconds before the unedited content begins.

That advisory reads, in part: "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."

The reasons for restricting access to these four, in particular, were more fully explained within the "Stories Matter" section of Disney's website. They are as follows:

DUMBO, Timothy Mouse (back to camera), Crows, 1941
DUMBO, Timothy Mouse (back to camera), Crows, 1941

Dumbo (1941)

"The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States."

Peter Pan (1953)

"The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions. It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as 'redskins,' an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes."

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

"The pirates who antagonize the Robinson family are portrayed as a stereotypical foreign menace. Many appear in 'yellow face' or 'brown face' and are costumed in an exaggerated and inaccurate manner with top knot hairstyles, queues, robes and overdone facial make-up and jewelry, reinforcing their barbarism and 'otherness.'"

The Aristocats (1970)

"The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks."