Disney+ Removes “The Aristocats”, “Peter Pan”, “Dumbo”, and “Swiss Family Robinson” Movies From Children’s Profiles Due to Negative Cultural Depictions

In their continued effort to promote diversity and inclusion, Disney has made select films unavailable on children’s Disney+ profiles due to negative cultural depictions, particularly racist stereotypes. The films are still available on standard Disney+ profiles with a content advisory warning directing viewers to www.disney.com/StoriesMatter.

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The films now unavailable on children’s profiles are The Aristocats, Dumbo, Peter Pan, and Swiss Family Robinson. The films have been moved to a 6+ rating and are not the only movies unavailable to children as PG-rated Disney films are also unavailable.

Below are Disney’s explanations for each film’s rating change.

The Aristocats

The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks. This portrayal reinforces the “perpetual foreigner” stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as “Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.”

Dumbo

The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations. The leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. In “The Song of the Roustabouts,” faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like “When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.”

Peter Pan

The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions. It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as “redskins,” an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.

Swiss Family Robinson

The pirates who antagonize the Robinson family are portrayed as a stereotypical foreign menace. Many appear in “yellow face” or “brown face” and are costumed in an exaggerated and inaccurate manner with top knot hairstyles, queues, robes and overdone facial make-up and jewelry, reinforcing their barbarism and “otherness.” They speak in an indecipherable language, presenting a singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples.

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A Swiss Family Robinson remake is currently in the works for Disney+, as well as a live-action Peter Pan & Wendy, both of which we can expect to handle race much better than the original films. There has already been a live-action Dumbo remake which cut much of the problematic elements from the animated film.

Below is a Stories Matter video more about The Walt Disney Company’s current diversity efforts.