Disney+ updates content warnings on classic animations including 'Dumbo' and 'Peter Pan'

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·2 mins read
The crows in classic animation 'Dumbo' have been criticised as racist. (Credit: Disney)
The crows in classic animation 'Dumbo' have been criticised as racist. (Credit: Disney)

Disney+ has updated the content warnings it provides for some of its classic animations, warning of “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures”.

The new warning will appear on viewers’ screens for 15 seconds before they watch animated movies including Dumbo, Peter Pan and The Aristocats, as well as live-action adventure Swiss Family Robinson.

Read more: Blazing Saddles has content warning intro on HBO Max

These notices are a new iteration of the “outdated cultural depictions” warnings which have appeared on some classic Disney titles since the service launched.

They direct viewers who would like more information to visit the newly created Stories Matter website, which provides added context on the films involved.

The depiction of Native Americans in 'Peter Pan' is subject to a content warning on Disney+. (Credit: Disney)
The depiction of Native Americans in 'Peter Pan' is subject to a content warning on Disney+. (Credit: Disney)

“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the new warning adds.

“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.”

Read more: Disney movies accused of racism

The Stories Matter website provides further context on some of the outdated and harmful stereotypes depicted in some of Walt Disney’s classic animations.

'The Aristocats' features a cat acting as a caricature of East Asian people. (Credit: Disney)
'The Aristocats' features a cat acting as a caricature of East Asian people. (Credit: Disney)

The website notes that The Aristocats features a cat who is “depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth”.

Peter Pan, meanwhile, is singled out for its depiction of Native American people and, specifically, the song What Made The Red Man Red? which features “mockery and appropriation of Native peoples' culture and imagery”.

Read more: Why Disney+ won’t release Song of the South

Disney’s move comes in the wake of a high-profile reckoning over racism in movies and television, including the removal from streaming services of TV shows featuring blackface.

Old Hollywood classic Gone With the Wind was also briefly removed from Warner Bros streaming service HBO Max and later returned with an introduction discussing its historical context.

Watch: Gone With the Wind gets HBO Max disclaimer