If you’ve ever wondered which Disney films are the most problematic… well, Disney itself is answering for you.
The company has removed several Disney classics from Disney+, citing negative cultural depictions. Well, sort of removed them, sort of not. Several films, including Peter Pan, The Aristocats, Dumbo, and Swiss Family Robinson, no longer appear on children’s profiles on the platform.
The movies can still be watched from standard/adult profiles with an accompanying content warning. The content warning directs viewers to Stories Matter, a page Disney dedicated to describing the reasons for flagging each film.
You can read the reasoning behind each film’s shift and new content warning below.
The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in poorly accented English (voiced by a white actor) and plays the piano with chopsticks. This portrayal reinforces the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype. The film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.”
The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. In “The Song of the Roustabouts,” faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like “When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.”
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.
Swiss Family Robinson
The pirates who antagonize the Robinson family are portrayed as a stereotypical foreign menace. Many appear in “yellow face” or “brown face” and are costumed in an exaggerated and inaccurate manner with top knot hairstyles, queues, robes and overdone facial make-up and jewelry, reinforcing their barbarism and “otherness.” They speak in an indecipherable language, presenting a singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples.
Source: Disney (via WDWNT)