Home Disney News Some Classic Animated Films Carry Content Warning on Disney+

Some Classic Animated Films Carry Content Warning on Disney+

Some Classic Animated Films Carry Content Warning on Disney+
credit: Disney

Everyone in the Disney fandom has been talking about the release of Disney+ yesterday. 10 million fans (and counting) have signed up for the service. And some of the content that we know and love comes with a content warning for “outdated cultural depictions”.

Users logging into Disney+ to stream favorite animated films from their childhood quickly took notice of the content warnings found in the descriptions of some films. To be clear, the content warnings are not limited to the “outdated cultural depictions”, but also mention things such as tobacco use, that cautious parents may want to note.

The bottom of the “details” section of the Peter Pan film in Disney+ carries a content warning for tobacco use and outdated cultural depictions.

Peter Pan, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp are some of the Disney classics that carry such warnings. I can appreciate the effort to balance the desire to present the film “as it was originally created” with the need to point out some of the cringe-worthy cultural depictions.

Some users have noted that the content warning is a bit delicate, given that the depictions in these films are not just “outdated”, but also incorrect and offensive to those depicted. Twitter users pointed out that Warner Brothers displays a much stronger message before their racially insensitive content:

As a parent, I welcome this opportunity to explain to my child (age 9) how widespread sentiments about race have evolved (and continue to evolve). I also find the historical context behind some of the depictions interesting and like to give a little historical background with my explanations!

For instance, Thailand (formerly Siam) was not seen very favorably in post-war America due to the nation joining the Axis Powers and declaring war on the Us and Great Britain at the end of World War II. So, while a culturally insensitive depiction of the Siamese cats may have been seen as o.k. by producers in 1955, it’s a scene that hasn’t aged well in 2019.

Si & Am, depicted here in a “Disney doodle” for the Disney Parks blog in 2018. The 2019 Live action Lady and the Tramp film features a rewritten song and the cats are no longer Siamese. From Disney Parks Blog

I feel that the warnings are a step in the right direction, but that they could certainly be more candid. The company could take some responsibility for the role they played in perpetuating these stereotypes.

I’d prefer that if the warning is going to be there, that it would be closer to the Warner Brothers version. But, it seems that true to their usual form, Disney is trying to toe the line and keep everyone happy.

What do you think? Did you notice the warnings? Should they change the wording to reflect these concerns?

-Rebecca W Davis


  1. Well, Warner bros. definitely needs to edit THEIRS (if that’s their actual one depicted above) to fix the grammatical error shown. I think Disney came up with a nonspecific blanket warning because some of their older content would be considered quite racist (much not available on Disney+), while some is just culturally insensitive. While I doubt the average American kid would be bothered by, or even notice the majority without it being pointed out, this gives parents the opportunity to talk to their kids about it AND gives Disney an out. I’m not sure Disney feels that their best business strategy is to apologize for their content; they’re vastly more likely to just pull it, or remake and rerelease it.

    • Thanks for reading! I admit I don’t see the grammatical error in the WB message! And I’m usually good at this game! haha

      I agree with you that the warning allows us the opportunity to talk to our kids about it. Where I live it is very diverse, I’d be mortified if my son was running around singing “what made the red man red?”.

      I commented in the Kenny the Pirate Crew Facebook group that last month he wanted to remix the Si and Am song for his DJ class and I had to explain to him why some people may find the song offensive and help him select something else. It’s not a big deal, but some of these scenes really haven’t aged well.

      • WB disclaimer last line: “that” should be “the”. I admit I don’t know 100% of the words to the Siamese Cat song, but didn’t remember anything particularly offensive other than the cats being pictured in a poor Asian stereotype (accent, slant eyed, buck toothed), that might not sit well with my Chinese American friends either. The Red Man song from Peter Pan, however, is pretty cringe worthy!

      • These movies are CLASSICS & shouldn’t be changed AT ALL!!!! Those that don’t like the old ideas should just not watch.

  2. I think people have too much time on their hands to tweet about this and most people … including kids… just want to watch a Cinderella movie, or a bugs bunny cartoon. Without being warned that the show we watched 30 years ago will now potentially trigger us and children around us.

    • lol I’m over here thinking about how much time I have on my hands to write about other people tweeting about this!!

      I think its less about triggering people and more about giving us the opportunity to remind our kids that there are some things, even in Disney films, that aren’t ok to repeat in mixed company.

      When I hear “trigger warning” I think about things associated with PTSD. That’s where I see the term used most often.

      Thanks for reading!

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