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Disney Plus warns viewers of scenes with 'outdated cultural depictions,' tobacco smoking

a Disney logo forms part of a menu for the Disney Plus movie and entertainment streaming service on a computer screen in Walpole, Mass., Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Disney Plus says it hit more than 10 million sign-ups on its first day of launch, far exceeding expectations. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

TORONTO — Disney Plus is warning subscribers that some of Walt Disney’s most beloved classics might contain “outdated cultural depictions.”

A number of titles available on the streaming platform, which launched Tuesday, included cautionary notes in the plot descriptions about problematic representations in some of the characters.

Numerous titles from Disney’s extensive library carry the warning, among them “Peter Pan,” a 1953 film long criticized for its stereotypical depiction of Indigenous people, and “The Aristocats,” a 1970 production which features a Siamese cat playing piano with chopsticks.

The company doesn’t outline how each film might be considered insensitive by today’s standards beyond its single-sentence warning.

Before the launch of the service, Disney was faced with how to present nearly a century of family entertainment history.

Early reports suggested the studio would remove a racially insensitive scene of crows from “Dumbo,” which features a bird named Jim Crow, but on Disney Plus the scene remains as it was originally released, with the additional warning.

Disney also included warnings about tobacco use in “Pinocchio,” “Aladdin” and other films.


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David Friend, The Canadian Press