It’s been a rough few weeks for conservatives. They’ve spent most of it apoplectic — not over a nation still struggling through a once-in-a-century pandemic, but about toys and children’s entertainment. First it was the Muppets, then it was Mr. Potato Head, then Dr. Seuss, then Pepé Le Pew. Were they “canceled”? Nope. They’re still around, though some have been modified in some fashion to fit the very different present. (For instance, a handful of Muppet Show episodes now have warnings but are able to be watched uncut and in full. But you tell that to Don Jr.) Now there’s some more kiddie content that’s been flagged: a small number of old Disney movies.
As per IGN, Disney+ decided to install a new feature on certain films on their service. From now on, the animated film Peter Pan, Dumbo, and The Aristocats — plus the 1962 live-action take on The Swiss Family Robinson — will be excluded the accounts of children under 7. The reason? They have some racist stuff in them. For instance, their 1953 version of Peter Pan has long been criticized for its depictions of Native Americans, including the song “What Made the Red Man Red?” Dumbo, from 1941, has those crows, which were based on African-American stereotypes, and include one actually named “Jim Crow.”
Does that mean these films are being disappeared? Nope! They will remain on the service, with a disclaimer at the beginning, which reads in part, “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.”
Warner Bros. has long had a similar disclaimer on certain sets of Looney Tunes cartoons, a number of which feature racist content, which stated that the cartoons “are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.” They’ve done similar things like films like Gone with the Wind, which remains on HBO Max.
But then this comes a couple weeks into a trend of children’s entertainment being flagged. None of those were exactly silenced either. Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Potato Head went gender neutral. Only six Dr. Seuss books were pulled from the marketplace but still exist in libraries. And Pepé Le Pew simply won’t have new adventures, such as in the forthcoming Space Jam: A New Legacy.
But that didn’t stop conservatives from being pissed anyway. They received a counter backlash, with people wishing they’d care about more important matters.
I wish Republicans cared as much about people’s access to healthcare, livable wages and the ballot box as they do about access to Dr Seuss books and Peter Pan.
— Kendall Brown (@kendallybrown) March 10, 2021
Or remember the long, long, long history of conservatives boycotting (i.e., “canceling”) things in the past.
"Disney + requiring adult approval for under 7s to watch Peter Pan, Dumbo, etc with racially insensitive scenes is CANCEL CULTURE!" – say people who boycotted Disney for Ellen coming out, Duck Tales' gay dads, gay LeFou, and health benefits for live-in partners of gay employees.
— Mr. Newberger (@jeremynewberger) March 10, 2021
And other hypocrises.
The "fuck your feelings" crowd is sure crying about Dumbo, The Aristocats, and Peter Pan.
— Amy Lynn ✡️🍭🌊 (@AmyAThatcher) March 10, 2021
The Right: "Where are the PARENTS? Why arent people parenting their own children? Where is the personal accountability!?!"
Also the Right: "Why are PARENTS deciding whether to let their kids watch Peter Pan and Dumbo? CANCEL CUTURE!!"
— Richard Rowe for Congress (@ReforgeAmerica) March 10, 2021
Some even summed up their last few weeks of outrage.
Over the last week or so, the party that sees itself as the more “mature, dignified” one has gotten all worked up about a potato toy, Dr. Seuss, Peter Pan, and Dumbo. 🙄
— 💀 Scary Larry 💀 🇺🇸🌊✊🏻🗽 (@StompTheGOP) March 10, 2021
Bottom line: If you’re reading this article, there’s an excellent chance you can still watch Peter Pan or Dumbo. And even if you can’t, all you have to do is beg your parents to switch to their own account, for people who are older than 7 years old.