18 Oct 2020: Several Disney+ titles now contain detailed warnings of cultural insensitivity
Disney is treading the troubled waters of cultural depiction quite cautiously.
They have decided to put disclaimers before airing the content on Disney+ platform to not spark debates about cultural inclusivity, racist stereotypes, etc.
The process starts with films like Aladdin and Dumbo, among others.
This happened after they dug up their archives of classic animated series, and found certain inflammatory depictions of minorities.
Strategies: Previous disclaimers were shorter, didn't directly address the issues
Disney's disclaimers last year were shorter and didn't directly address the issues ingrained with the odd portrayal of certain sections of the society.
For example, Dumbo (1941) had a short description of its lead character along with the following disclaimer that was screened last year.
"This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions." - This was the original, short version.
Addressing issue: "These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now"
The current disclaimer underwent improvement, both in tone and premise of addressing the deep-rooted issue in entertainment.
"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. 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," it reads.
Advisory councils: Several organizations helped Disney in framing such warnings
"Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe," says the current disclaimer.
It continues by directing viewers to their Stories Matter webpage.
Several advisory councils such as the African American Film Critics Association, Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment, GLAAD, and IllumiNative have helped Disney frame such content warnings.
Popular characters: Titles covered: 'Aladdin,' 'Lady and the Tramp,' 'The Aristocats,' 'Dumbo'
Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp, The Aristocats, Dumbo, Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Three Caballeros are a few of Disney's films that have been criticized widely.
The opening song of Arabian Nights calls fictional city Agrabah as "barbaric" for having South Asian culture.
Similarly, The Aristocrats features a Siamese cat that plays the piano with chopsticks, while singing racist lyrics.