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Disney Plus Pulls Animated Movies From Kids’ Profiles Over “Negative Depictions”

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Disney Plus Pulls Animated Movies From Kids’ Profiles Over “Negative Depictions”

Disney Plus has taken animated movies like Peter Pan and Dumbo off of children's profiles on the streaming service owing to their problematic content.

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"Titles with a content advisory notice related to negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures have been excluded," explained Disney through its online help pages, and qualified that "local ratings and cultural sensitivities can mean that there may be some variations in the availability of specific titles when using Kids Profile in different regions." As aforementioned, Peter Pan and Dumbo have been hidden from view, and so have The Aristocats and the live-action Swiss Family Robinson, released in 1970 and 1960 respectively. This is only the case for children's accounts and the movies are still available on Disney Plus on other accounts, though they will show a content advisory notification before the movie plays.

The crows from Dumbo which are representations of minstrel shows / Credit: Disney
The crows from Dumbo which are representations of minstrel shows / Credit: Disney

"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now," reads the text. "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."

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This reaction is thanks to Disney's Stories Matter program, which attempts to "consciously, purposefully and relentlessly champion the spectrum of voices and perspectives in our world." Resultantly, the experts that the company consulted advised that the culturally insensitive representations in movies from the 20th century should stay on the platform for audiences to "acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward together."

The cat from The Aristocats that shows exaggerated East Asian features and sings mockingly / Credit: Disney
The cat from The Aristocats that shows exaggerated East Asian features and sings mockingly / Credit: Disney

Disney has also provided examples of why these movies have been removed on its Stories Matter home page, and these include racist stereotypes, black face, mockery and appropriation of other cultures, and made-up languages to represent nonwhite groups. The world has changed significantly between the era in which these movies were made and today, and what is and is not acceptable accounts for voices that have been historically marginalised.

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These movies are not being destroyed or forgotten but it is important to remember that they can and do influence their viewers. Moreover, there are countless other movies out there for children to watch and even more that are being made with their experiences in mind. Hiding these four isn't going to majorly impact an entire generation, and better, more inclusive movies will form the foundation of their childhoods. And that's the long and short of it.

Featured Image Credit: Disney

Topics: Movies, News

Imogen Donovan
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