Content Warnings Added to Movies and Shows With Outdated Cultural Depictions Across Disney+ Library

Jessica Figueroa

Updated on:

Content Warnings Added to Movies and Shows With Outdated Cultural Depictions Across Disney+ Library

Jessica Figueroa

Updated on:

Content Warnings Added to Movies and Shows With Outdated Cultural Depictions Across Disney+ Library

Before Disney+, there was the Walt Disney Treasures DVD Collection, which is where many of us first learned of the many issues behind outdated cultural depictions in many of the earliest Mickey Mouse shorts and even the infamous “On The Frontlines” wartime propaganda cartoons, which were all presented uncensored and uncut. Before each of these segments was a bit by film historian Leonard Maltin explaining the context behind these cartoons and why the decision was made to still show them:

A segment preceding the “Mickey Mouse: In Black and White” gave historical context for the blackface and ethnic stereotypes shown in many of these shorts. Fast forward to 2019; DVDs are now a relic of the early 2000’s and Disney+ has finally launched in the content streaming sphere. However, outdated cultural depictions remain an issue in some of the older content within the service’s expansive library, and Disney+ is trying to navigate the need to release these classics, while appealing to modern audiences, cautiously.

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Across the Disney+ library, subscribers will encounter content warnings on many Disney classics, including Dumbo, The Aristocats, Aladdin, The Jungle Book, and more. Unlike the Greedo scene in Star Wars: A New Hope, nothing has been edited or cut from these animated classics. The crows still show up in Dumbo, Edgar the Butler still tries to kill a family of cats in the class war played out in The Aristocats, and Aladdin is still… well, Aladdin. Additional warnings of tobacco use or depictions are also added to the episode synopses and descriptions.

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Similar warnings can be found in many of the older live-action specials from the ’50s and ’60s:

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“This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural descriptions.”

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As Disney+ releases further content from even deeper within the vault, content warnings like these will have to persist. The controversial Song of the South live action musical film from 1946 was not included as part of the Disney+ content library at launch.

Disney+ launched on Tuesday, November 12th. While there were some issues on launch day, including system outages, user login errors, and long wait times for customer service, the service has earned 10 million subscribers and over 1 million hours of collective streaming.

Want more about Disney+? Check out our reviews on such Disney+ orignals as Noelle, the Lady and the Tramp remake, as well as series like “The Mandalorian,” “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,” “Forky Asks a Question” and “Pixar in Real Life,” and Pixar SparkShorts’ “Float!”

14 thoughts on “Content Warnings Added to Movies and Shows With Outdated Cultural Depictions Across Disney+ Library”

    • Disney isn’t the first that’s done this.

      It’s not so much about people being offended as it is letting people know what’s being portrayed isn’t okay.

      • According to whom? There’s a “warning” on Steamboat Willie, for goodness sake. It’s totally subjective and seems to have been applied indiscriminately so as to be worthless.

  1. So if content warning are now the new standard, does that mean the “Song of the South” and an unedited version of”Fantasia” may soon be available? As acollector coming late to the game, I really do want to be able to see and own these and other films…

  2. I think it’s good that these classics are still shown, and the disclaimer is a reminder of how much things have changed since then. If they wanted to appease anyone who got offended, they could have buried these and never shown them again, lost to history of cultural change. by showing them and acknowledging them as outdated depictions, it shows a history that can be prevented repeating.

  3. I’d rather them have content warnings and give us unedited versions of the movies than cutting scenes and pretending those things never happened. It’s an opportunity to watch learn and grow.

  4. So will this include the cultural appropriation in the new Little Mermaid? I may be mistaken, but I am pretty certain that the actress playing Ariel is NOT an actual mermaid. As someone that identifies as a mermaid this week, I am deeply offended.

  5. Edgar trying to kill the cats wasn’t the problem with the Aristocats. It was the awful Chinese stereotype on the Siamese cat

  6. I am clearly in the minority in these comments, but here’s the issue: kids streaming this content. They do not have understanding of cultural context and the disclaimer will not be read or understood by kids. I know people will respond that kids shouldn’t be watching anything without parent supervision. Anyone who says that does not have kids in today’s day and age. I think Disney should take a more active stance by putting a kid-friendly disclaimer at the beginning of the streaming (not in the description). Something uplifting like “Thankfully, our culture continues to become more diverse and accepting of anyone and everyone. This film was created when that was not true. We realize this and celebrate how far we have come!”

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