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Major Change Made to “Discriminatory” ‘Mary Poppins’ SIXTY YEARS Later

Mary Poppins ratings change derogatory language
Credit: Disney

In 1964, Disney released what would become one of its most beloved and iconic live-action movies of all time, Mary Poppins. The film starred Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, a magical nanny who travels to London to help the struggling Banks family. Through her tough lessons that were always given with love, she taught father, George Banks, how important family is and how work should never trump that.

Not only isĀ Mary PoppinsĀ full of fun and great messages, but it is also full of incredible music. Who doesn’t love to sing along to “A Spoonful of Sugar”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Mary Poppins

Credit: Disney

It’s been sixty years sinceĀ Mary PoppinsĀ was released, but it is still as popular now as it was then. It seems so classically Disney, a pure story with great music and a happy ending.

However, one film board recently decided that maybe the movie wasn’t as innocent and wholesome as we thought.

On Friday, February 23, the British Board of Film Classification changed its rating ofĀ Mary PoppinsĀ from U for Universal (G in the United States) to PG. That means that Parental Guidance is suggested for children under a certain age.

Mary Poppins

Credit: Disney

You may be wondering what the heck in Mary Poppins made the board think that the film’s rating should be changed.

A spokesperson for the BBFC spoke to Variety and said that the film had a derogatory term, which was used twice. Per Variety:

[Mary Poppins] ā€œincludes two uses of the discriminatory term ā€˜hottentotsā€™. While ā€˜Mary Poppinsā€™ has a historical context, the use of discriminatory language is not condemned, and ultimately exceeds our guidelines for acceptable language at U. We therefore classified the film PG for discriminatory language.ā€

Mary Poppins

Credit: Disney

Related:Ā Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Just Called Himself WHAT?!

According to Oxford Reference, “Hottentot” was a derogatory created in the 17th century by white Europeans. It was used as a slur towards the Khoikhoi, a nomadic people from South Africa.

InĀ Mary Poppins, the term was used by Admiral Boom — the Banks’ next-door neighbor — to describe the chimney sweeps whose faces were covered in black soot.

Admiral Boom Mary Poppins

Credit: Disney

This is not the first time that a Disney movie has been re-examined because of blatant racial discrimination. Films likeĀ DumboĀ (1941),Ā The AristocatsĀ (1970), andĀ Peter PanĀ (1953), now come with warnings on Disney+ about the racially insensitive content viewers will see.

Mary PoppinsĀ featured Julie Andrews as the titular nanny and Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke as Bert. The movie also starred David Tomlinson as George Banks, Glynis Johns as Mrs. Banks, Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks, and Matthew Garber as Michael Banks.

Did you know thatĀ Mary PoppinsĀ contained racially discriminatory language? Let us know in the comments.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

2 comments

  1. Go woke go broke Disney!

  2. I guess we are going to go back to silent movies as we are not allowed to have opinions or voice anything that goes against the Liberal Woke thinking!

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