Racist content warnings added to Disney classics Peter Pan, Dumbo

Classic Disney animated movies Peter Pan, The Aristocrats, and Dumbo have been given content advisory notices warning viewers that they contain outdated or stereotyped depictions of people of colour.

The advisories, the latest example of Hollywood's reckoning with racism, come in the form of a short graphic on the Disney + streaming service as some of the older films are selected for viewing.

"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures," the on screen advice reads. "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," the advice adds.

Disney said on its website the advisories were part of a review of its library content.

The movie studio said that 1953 film Peter Pan refers to Native people as "redskins" and that the dancing in headdresses by Peter and the Lost Boys is a "form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples' culture and imagery".

Racist content warnings added to Disney classics Peter Pan, Dumbo
Photo credit: Disney

For the 1970 film The Aristocats, the advisory refers to one of the felines, noting that it "sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks".

Other movies dating back to the 1950s 1960s and 1970s with the new warning include The Lady and the Tramp, Swiss Family Robinson, and The Jungle Book.

Earlier this year, amid massive nationwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice, the Civil War era film Gone With the Wind was briefly pulled from the HBO Max streaming service.

The film reappeared two weeks later with a commentary about the brutality of slavery.