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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 February 2021

Disney+ ‘blocks under-7s’ from watching ‘Peter Pan’, ‘Dumbo’ and ‘The Aristocats’ because of racist stereotypes

Parents have said an array of Disney films, which carry racist warnings, have now been made unavailable via children's profiles

Original Disney films 'The Aristocats', 'Dumbo' and 'Peter Pan' are now not accessible for those with children's accounts on streamer Disney+. Courtesy Walt Disney Productions
Original Disney films 'The Aristocats', 'Dumbo' and 'Peter Pan' are now not accessible for those with children's accounts on streamer Disney+. Courtesy Walt Disney Productions

Three months after Disney issued racist content advisory notices on many of their classic films, the company is said to have removed the movies from children’s accounts on its Disney+ platform.

Parents with children’s accounts on the streamer told the UK’s Daily Mail that Peter Pan, Dumbo and The Aristocats had been blocked from being accessed by children under 7 for breaching “content advisories”.

“I wanted to watch Peter Pan with my daughter, but I couldn’t find it anywhere,” one parent told the publication. “Then I realised they had all gone – they had been removed from the kids’ accounts. It was shocking.”

The move comes three months after Disney added warnings at the start of an array of original films, including The Jungle Book, which read: “This programme includes negative depictions and / or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now.” Adding: “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.”

Although specific reasons have not been given for the apparent block, Peter Pan features a Native American tribe whose members are referred to by a racist term, while in the 1970 film The Aristocats, a Siamese cat called Shun Gon, has slanted eyes and prominent teeth, which are viewed as a caricature of East Asian people. Dumbo, which was released in 1941, has been accused of demeaning enslaved African-Americans on Southern plantations.

Other films, such as The Lady and the Tramp, were also given the warning, while Song of the South has been removed from Disney’s slate altogether. The film also featured the song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, which won the 1948 Oscar for Best Original Song.

In the US, the Disney+ streaming service costs $6.99 per month, and gives subscribers access to more than 30 Disney films, including Toy Story, Finding Dory and the Marvel films, such as Black Panther, as well as more than 50 series including Agents of SHIELD.

Viewers in the Middle East can access Disney+ Originals content via OSN.

Parents can create accounts for their children, which can be designed as a Kid’s Profile. This restricts the content available to view when logged in under that account, to shows and movies with the US ratings G, TV-Y, TV-Y7/Y7-FV, and TV-G.

“We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of,” reads a statement on Disney’s website.

Updated: January 24, 2021 05:06 PM

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