Disney and their classic movies have been around for a long time and with that came a lot of growth. If you watch back to some of their older movies, there is undoubtedly questionable material that is a direct link to now very outdated cultural norms of the times. One of the worst offenders is their movie Song of the South, and it was confirmed that it will not appear on Disney+. Here are the details.
When Disney launched their streaming service, Disney+, all those outdated movies were released and available to watch in its full form. The company decided not to hide their racist past, instead opting for a disclaimer on the movie descriptions instead of resorting to editing the parts out as if they never happened.
As Fatherly previously discussed, the company’s decision to not hide their past was a good one and allows for us to choose for our own families whether to watch the content and have a discussion about racism, to ignore it altogether, or not watch them at all. The “Indians” in Peter Pan and the song “What Makes the Red Man Red” was left in the film on the platform and had a disclaimer. The crow character in Dumbo didn’t get edited out, but the same treatment isn’t going to happen for Song of the South.
Bob Iger spoke at Disney’s annual shareholder’s meeting and confirmed this movie won’t be added to Disney+ because even a disclaimer can’t make this movie even a little OK. He said the movie is “not appropriate in today’s world” and will not be released on their platform.
“I’ve felt as long as I had been CEO that Song of the South was, even with a disclaimer, just not appropriate in today’s world,” he said. “That’s actually true with some of the other things that we’ve made as well, it’s just hard given the depictions in some of those films to bring them out today without in some form or another offending people, so we decided not to do that.”
Iger was also asked about other titles that are absent from their streaming catalog, specifically asking about some short films like Victory Through Air Power, described as ” feature-length World War II propaganda,” and Follow Me Boys. Iger explained that digitizing some of the studio’s older titles has been more difficult than expected and he dialed back on a previous statement saying “we couldn’t get everything on” and that “not everything” would be on Disney+.
It’s not a bad thing for the company to take a good hard look at the appropriateness of their older titles and differentiate which ones need a disclaimer and which ones never deserve to see the light of day again.