If you were reading the news the last week or so, you may have noticed some headlines like, “Disney Censors Peter Pan,” or “Disney+ Blocks Dumbo.”
So … did they?
Yes. No. Well, kind of. As is often the case once you get past the headlines, things are a little more complex than those attention-grabbing statements might imply.
Disney+ did make the decision to block availability of four films—Dumbo, Peter Pan, The Aristocats and Swiss Family Robinson—due to concerns that each of those films had language or images that contributed to unhealthy and racial stereotyping. Specifically, those films are no longer available for kids under 7 for parents who’ve set up profiles for children that age or below, which means they kids can’t click on the movie and watch it on their own.
Disney’s decision to limit access to these films could seem like political correctness run amok. I mean, really? Peter Pan isn’t suitable for young children? It takes a moment to let that sink in.
But when we dig a bit deeper, there’s a much bigger conversation to be had about ratings, content, limits and who gets to—and who should—be making decisions about these important issues.
This week, I had a chance to unpack this conversation further in an Op-Ed piece for USA Today: “Why Disney+ blocking classics should not alarm us.” I’d invite you to take a look … and to let us know what you think about this cultural conversation in the comments section below.