Disney is the latest studio to reflect on their classic titles with fresh eyes and are endeavouring to adjust to modern standards. As part of the Mouse House’s Stories Matter initiative, a number of movies have been restricted from children’s profiles on Disney Plus due to them demonstrating negative racial and cultural depictions and stereotyping. These films include 1941’s Dumbo, 1953’s Peter Pan, 1960’s Swiss Family Robinson and 1970’s The Aristocats.
These titles and a few others had previously still been available for young audiences to view, albeit with a 12-second advisory message that plays beforehand. The streamer’s policy was updated earlier this year, however, to remove these movies from being able to be watched on children’s profiles. The key thing is that they’ve not been pulled from D+’s library altogether, as they can still be seen on adult profiles. Disney is simply trying to limit the exposure of offensive material to viewers of an impressionable age.
Of course, these flicks have long been the subject of controversy. In particular, Dumbo and Peter Pan feature prominent negative stereotyping of black and Native American characters. Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped Disney from rebooting these properties and simply cutting the offensive elements. For instance, the singing crows from the original were nowhere to be found in 2019’s Dumbo remake and it’s easy to assume that Princess Tiger Lily will not feature in D+’s upcoming Peter Pan & Wendy.
On the other hand, the disclaimer that appears before these movies on the platform explains why the originals haven’t been edited to delete the insensitive material and have been left uncut. “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 message reads.
Even so, the additional measure of blocking these titles on kids profiles has now been taken. Once again, though, the likes of Peter Pan and Dumbo have not been wiped from Disney Plus overall and can still be viewed on any adult profile.