The history of cinema is littered with racist stereotypes. (Call it the long tail of minstrel shows.) As cultural preferences have evolved — which is to say it’s now not cool to be racist — so have our films. In practice, what that means is some stuff just doesn’t hold up, especially when you’re showing it to kids. According to Disney, that includes classics like Peter Pan and Dumbo. Disney Plus will now not show those two films and some others to profiles that indicate the viewer is seven years old or younger. Other blocked movies include Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, The Swiss Family Robinson, and The Jungle Book.
It’s a big move, though adult accounts will still be able to access the blocked films. If you do decide to stream those films, there is a warning:
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.
Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.
It’s not unprecedented. In fact, Disney added warning labels back in 2019 for different movies on Disney Plus (though they weren’t as strongly worded).
The times, as they say, are a-changing. And if you’re curious, you can read more about Disney’s diversity efforts right here, part of its Stories Matter initiative.