Disney+ Puts Content Warning on Outdated Films

The newest streaming platform Disney+ has users feeling nostalgic now that all of their old favorite Walt Disney films and shows are available right at the touch of their fingertips. While Disney has produced content that is loved by fans of all ages, the streaming platform has decided to finally open “the Disney Vault.”

The Disney Vault refers to the release strategy for their movies. A film would be released for a limited amount of time and then taken off the market, or put “back in the vault”, for seven to ten years. So you can imagine the excitement of Disney fans when they finally regained access to these old movies after being deprived for so many years.

However, releasing things from the Disney vault may be a bit risky for Disney to do. The Walt Disney Company has been around since 1923. Producing content in the 1920s and all throughout the years until 2019 would obviously vary in cultural content. Older Disney films display racially offensive images or storylines that were acceptable at the time it was released.

Opening the vault and allowing users to have access to that old content is very problematic, especially considering that many young children will be exposed to these films for the first time. It can really influence children in the wrong way.

In an effort to tackle this issue, Disney takes accountability for its older outdated films with a content warning. In the description of most older films, the last two sentences are “This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depiction.”

Peter Pan Description

Source: Disney +

Source: Disney+

Some movies that have this description are Peter PanDumbo, and Lady and the Tramp. Peter Pan features racist depictions of Native Americans. Lady and the Tramp features Siamese cats that speak in voices that are offensive parodies of Asian accents voiced by white actors.  Lastly, in Dumbo there is a crow character named Jim Crow. This character speaks in an accent that racistly mimics a black American accent.

Many users have explored the streaming platform and have shared their mixed reactions on Twitter:

While some users were grateful for Disney taking some form of accountability for these outdated films, other users were unimpressed:

Not all movies have been released from the vault though. Song of the South, a story set in the Reconstruction era remains in the vault. While Fantasia is on the streaming platform, the dark-skinned centaur named Sunflower who took care of the lighter-skinned centaurs remains edited out.

Disney’s disclaimer messages have even been compared to the message that Warner Bros. put on its old Tom and Jerry cartoons. Disney has been criticized for being lazy in crafting their message.

Despite this controversy, many people are still excited to be using the Disney+ streaming service.

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