Disney+ provides on-screen warnings to viewers over 'outdated cultural depictions'

Ben Arnold
Contributor
The Crows in Dumbo (Credit: Disney)

Disney+ is showing on-screen disclaimers before some of its older movies, warning viewers that they contain 'outdated cultural depictions'.

Among the movies to feature the disclaimer is the original 1941 Dumbo, which, in its description on the streaming site, says that the film 'is presented as originally created'.

“It may contain outdated cultural depictions,” it adds.

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Then prior to the movie beginning streaming, another warning reads: “The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society.

“These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While these cartoons do not represent today’s society, they are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”

Other films featuring the disclaimers include The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, Fantasia, Swiss Family Robinson, The Sign of Zorro and Jungle Book, which Song of the South, made in 1946, which also features racially insensitive scenes, is entirely absent from the available catalogue.

The Lady and the Tramp (Credit: Disney)

Some Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts also feature the disclaimer, though other films including Mulan, Pocahontas, Beauty and the Beast and Snow White do not.

Dumbo famously features the boisterous crow characters, one of whom is called Jim, after the segregationist Jim Crow laws enacted in the US in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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Lady and the Tramp, meanwhile, contains the racially dubious scene with the Siamese cats.

The issue of outdated references in Disney's catalogue was raised some months ago, as the studio ramped up the announcement of its streaming service, some commentors expressing concern about how it would be handled, while others feared that the studio could cut such scenes altogether.

The move has been met with support from users, however.

Disney+ launched on Tuesday this week in the US. We will have to wait until March 2020 for the UK launch.