Disney+ has made the move to restrict access to certain children’s films, including Peter Pan and Dumbo, on children’s profiles.
Last year Disney made the decision to place a content warning in front of various titles that have been deemed culturally insensitive. While this move initially stirred up a little controversy, it has since been implemented on Disney+ without much incident. I think we can all agree that education is preferable to censorship, particularly in the case of historical art.
However, in what appears a classic example of oversight, these controversial titles were left accessible to unaccompanied children – despite Disney+ utilising a child-lockable profile system.
At a glance this seems irresponsible and embarrassing for Disney. However, the titles at the centre of this situation have traditionally been considered classic children’s films. You know, the kind of films that encouraged parents to subscribe to Disney+ in the first place. Films like Peter Pan, The Artisocats, Dumbo, and Swiss Family Robinson.
While removing them from the library altogether seems a step too far, it’s the right decision to relocate them into the category of “needs parental supervision”.
After all, children are little sponges that soak up everything around them. The last thing any respectable parents wants is their young child insisting they go trick-or-treating as the offensively red-faced Native American chief from Peter Pan.
The Disney+ content warning before these films will read:
“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 Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
Which further demonstrates the need to lock these films behind adult Disney+ accounts: it’s a bit dense and complicated for most four year olds to digest. It’s a much better idea for mummy and daddy to sit down with their prodigious offspring and have the first of what will undoubtedly be many conversations regarding the nasty underbelly of human history.
Or they could just throw on the latest episode of Paw Patrol… I don’t know which would be more uncomfortable.