The Walt Disney Co. reportedly labelled beloved animated characters including Tinker Bell and Captain Hook from the 1953 movie Peter Pan as “potentially problematic” as it was preparing to launch the Disney+ streaming service, noting the characters could necessitate a disclaimer for perpetuating negative stereotypes.
Ursula from the 1989 movie The Little Mermaid also raised concerns of racism and homophobia.
Disney began an extensive review of its film library as it prepared to introduce the streaming service in 2019, according to a New York Times report. As part of the initiative, called Stories Matter, Disney added disclaimers to classic movies for containing “negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures.”
The Stories Matter team privately flagged certain characters as potentially problematic, with the findings distributed to senior Disney leaders, two current Disney executive told the Times.
One of them was Tinker Bell, who raised concern because she is “body conscious” and jealous of Peter Pan’s attention, according to the executives. Captain Hook was another potential liability because he could expose Disney to accusations of discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities because he is a villain.
Disney also flagged Ursula the Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid, saying her dark complexion could be construed as racist and her flamboyant mannerisms could come across as “queer coded,” or homophobic.
As Breitbart News reported, Disney launched the streaming service with social justice trigger warnings slapped on its classic movies, including Dumbo, Swiss Family Robinson, Davy Crockett: King of the Wild Frontier, and the original Lady and the Tramp, saying the films may contain “outdated cultural depictions.”