The launch of Disney+ has been highly anticipated, as it is bringing back all of American film’s classics, such as Dumbo, The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp and Jungle Book. However, with the return of the franchise’s lovable circus elephant and other family-friendly animated animals, the company has made it a point to address the real “elephant in the room.” With some of its most critically acclaimed films being produced nearly 80 years ago, Disney has given its subscribers a warning that some of the franchise’s older content has “outdated cultural depictions.”

Disney’s 1941 Dumbo, for one, has been accused of putting on black face and encompassing gross stereotypes targeted toward African Americans through its animated flock of “Black Crows.” The leader of the flock is named Jim Crow (of course, referring to segregation laws), and, like the other crows, is voiced by a white man trying his best to convey an offensively stereotypical “voice” of a black man. Another example is Peter Pan (1953),  which portrays mere caricatures meant to represent an entire population of indigenous peoples.

On the new streaming platform, there will be a message of warning displayed before any content is viewed. It will say: “The cartoons you are about to see are products of their time. They may depict some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that were commonplace in American society. These depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While these cartoons do not represent today’s society, they are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.”


Disney+ seems to be off to a successful start, having signed up over 10 million users since its launch on November 12.