The streaming platform, Disney +, has just added a warning message at the start of several of these feature films. A way of warning against the stereotypes and racial prejudices conveyed by these contents.
This isn’t the first time Disney + has warned before the debut of several of its classics. Since last winter, a message had already appeared indicating that “dated cultural representations” could be hidden in some of its programs. Today, the streaming platform goes further and displays a new warning that is much more detailed and visible to users, as reported « Variety ». “This program includes dated representations and / or negative treatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were out of place at the time and still are today, can we read on the streaming site. Rather than removing this content, we would like to acknowledge its damaging influence so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes, engage in dialogue and build a more inclusive future, all together. Disney is committed to creating stories on inspiring and ambitious themes that reflect the tremendous diversity of cultural and human richness around the world ”. A message that now appears, for ten seconds, before several great classics of our childhood, such as “Peter Pan”, “Dumbo”, “The Aristocats”, “Fantasia” or “La Belle et le Trochard”.
Proof of its sincere desire to undermine the racial clichés present in certain works produced in the last century, Disney + encourages its subscribers to visit its site Disney.com/StoriesMatter. A dedicated space to explain the negative representations that appear in our favorite cartoons. Thus, the American firm admits in particular that the Siamese cat in “The Aristocats” is “depicted as a racist caricature of the peoples of East Asia with exaggerated stereotypical features such as slanted eyes (…) poorly accentuated English ( …) While the film also features lyrics that make fun of Chinese language and culture ”. Another example, the tribe of Indians in “Peter Pan” presented as speaking “in an unintelligible language (…) Peter Pan and the lost boys engage in dances, wear headdresses (…), a form of mockery and appropriation of the culture and imagery of indigenous peoples. ”
A fight against racism
This new warning, put in place on Disney +, comes four months after another streaming platform found itself at the heart of a controversy. Last June, HBO Max removed from its catalog the film “Gone with the Wind” (1939) because of its racist character. A withdrawal which was only of short duration since the American company then reinstated the cinematographic work of Victor Fleming, a few days later, by broadcasting a message indicating that it was “a reference document on the practices Hollywood racists that have taken place in the past ”. At the same time, Netflix took its side by creating a collection of “Black Lives Matter” content, in order to promote diversity and combat persistent cultural and racial stereotypes.