What do the animated features Aristocats, Peter Pan and Dumbo, and the live-action film, Swiss Family Robinson, all have in common? They’re among the Walt Disney classics that are subject to 12-second title-card advisories – which can’t be skipped – that will now run before any viewings on Disney+.
The advisories serve the purpose of allowing subscribers to watch Disney films, shows, and cartoons as originally produced, despite elements that are knotty by today’s standards. Viewers who visit the aforementioned Stories Matter link come upon a new Disney+ landing page that further details the Walt Disney Company’s “ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion,” and provides examples of the titles receiving an advisory, along with an explanation of some of the negative depictions in each title.
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures,” the advisory reads. “These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. 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. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe. To learn more about how stories have impacted society, please visit www.disney.com/StoriesMatter.”
So, as a result, Peter Pan has been described thusly: “The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions. It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as ‘redskins,’ an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.”