Disney, one of the most iconic and beloved entertainment companies globally, has produced numerous classic films over the years. However, it hasn’t been immune to backlash and criticism, particularly for some of its older content that reflects outdated or insensitive views.
Perhaps one of Disney’s most notorious films, Song of the South has long been criticized for its portrayal of African-American characters in a stereotypical and offensive manner. The film has been widely condemned for perpetuating racial stereotypes, and Disney has kept it out of circulation for decades due to these concerns.
The original Dumbo film has faced backlash for its depiction of crows, which many view as racially insensitive due to the use of stereotypes. Disney has acknowledged this criticism and opted to include a disclaimer on the film when it’s available on its streaming service, Disney+. Peter Pan (1953) and The Aristocats (1970) are both films that have also been scrutinized for portraying Native Americans and Asian characters, respectively. Disney+ has added content warnings on these movies for their inappropriate cultural representations. When looking for these films, children over a certain age may need an adult profile to search for these movies.
Disney has responded to these concerns and changing cultural norms by adding disclaimers to some of its older films, acknowledging the problematic aspects, and providing context for viewers. The Walt Disney Company has also made efforts to create more culturally sensitive and diverse content in recent years. Films like Moana and Coco have been praised for their respectful and authentic representation of different cultures.
Moana is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film that draws inspiration from Polynesian culture. The story revolves around Moana, a spirited and adventurous young girl, who sets out on a daring journey to save her island from environmental decay and to discover her true destiny. Moana is a different step for Disney as a “Disney princess” film. Meaning Moana does not fall in love with a prince or need to be rescued.
Coco is a heartfelt and visually stunning celebration of Mexican culture, particularly the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The film tells the story of Miguel, a young boy passionate about music who embarks on a journey to the Land of the Dead to uncover a family secret and reconnect with his ancestors. The movie beautifully portrays the customs and beliefs surrounding Dia de los Muertos and emphasizes the importance of remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed away.
While Disney and backlash are nothing new, the latest Disney film live-action Snow White has been dealing with controversy in a major way. Rachel Zegler, who is set to star as Snow White, has been open about changes from the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Zegler has made comments about not needing a prince to rescue her in the live-action Snow White.
“I just mean that it’s no longer 1937,” Zegler said. “We absolutely wrote a ‘Snow White’ that … she’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love; she’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true.”
Disney recently announced that they are pushing the live-action Snow White back another year, which means this film should be available on March 21, 2025. The DailyMail has covered the backlash and Zegler and how Disney may now be pushing the film back to try and resolve some of the backlash surrounding the movie. The report indicates that Disney may be using the extra year to evaluate its options and fix some of the “scandals” that have surrounded the movie.
Of course, this hasn’t been confirmed by Disney.
While Disney will still face backlash and Zegler may still cause a bad taste in some mouths, some Snow White fans are still looking forward to the live-action Snow White.