It’s been reported that Disney have quietly removed a number of movies from children’s profiles on their streaming service Disney+.
The move was made this week without any prior announcement, in response to some of its older content being flagged as inappropriate due to the portrayal of offensive stereotypes.
This sees classic movies such as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, The Jungle Book, Dumbo and The Aristocats inaccessible from children’s profiles, which limit viewers to content of certain certifications.
There’s been a wave of censorship lately across various streaming services, with episodes of popular shows like It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Community and The Office removed over similar concerns, and while it’s upsetting some fans, it evidences a significant cultural shift in the industry’s attitude towards harmful stereotypes.
While Netflix has gone as far as removing episodes entirely, Disney+ have instead launched the “Stories Matter” campaign, making the decision to keep the content in question available – except now it comes with a disclaimer that it contains “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of peoples or cultures” before viewing. Disney believe that this continued accessibility will help “spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together”.
“Stories Matter” is an effort to pursue diversity in all future projects while simultaneously facing some of the company’s poor judgement in the past. We’re all aware that many of Disney’s older films – family favourites though they may be – contain uncomfortable stereotypes; the crows in Dumbo, the Native American caricatures in Peter Pan, and the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp, to name but a few. This latest move by Disney is a step in the right direction, ensuring that cinematic history is preserved in a way that reduces any potentially harmful impact on children.
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