Sky Cinema's pay-per-view film service has warned its viewers that a spate of movies, such as The Jungle Book, Aladdin, Dumbo and Aliens have “outdated attitudes, languages and cultural depictions which may cause offence today”, reported The Sun.
Broadcasters in the UK have been driven to review the content of television shows and films after the death of African American George Floyd while in the US police custody and the subsequent protests against systemic racism and police brutality.
The Comcast-owned media giant presented its subscribers with a disclaimer that made reference to sixteen films, such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Goonies, Aladdin, Dumbo, Gone With The Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Tropic Thunder, The Jazz Singer, The Littlest Rebel, The Lone Ranger, Balls of Fury, The Jungle Book, Flash Gordon, and The Last Samurai.
While remakes of Aladdin, The Jungle Book and Dumbo were also issued the disclaimer, it was shortly removed as a “mistake”, reports the outlet.
A Sky spokesperson was quoted as saying:
"Sky is committed to supporting anti-racism and improving diversity and inclusion both on and off-screen. We constantly review all content on Sky's owned channels and will take action where necessary including adding additional information for our customer to allow them to make an informed decision when deciding what films and TV shows to watch."
Among the films that were slammed with the censorious action, Aladdin, filmed in 1992, was deemed at fault for use of Orientalist stereotypes. As white actors had dubbed the animated characters of Aladdin, Princess Jasmine and the genie, the casting was also called into question.
Black crows using “jive-like speech patterns” in the original Dumbo animation were slammed as racist stereotypes of African Americans, while the principal feathered character, dubbed by a white actor, bore the name of Jim Crow, the name given to US state and local statutes that legalized racial segregation.
Gone With The Wind, the iconic romance filmed in 1939 and set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction, was also issued with a disclaimer.
Earlier in June HBO announced it was pulling the film from its streaming platform HBO Max, claiming it "depicted ethnic and racial prejudices" that were "wrong then and are wrong today".
The film narrating the story of Scarlett O'Hara, daughter of a Georgia plantation owner, depicted several slave characters in as happy servants, loyal to their owners even after slavery was abolished.
HBO added that the film would return to HBO Max "as it was originally created" with a discussion of its historical context.
The current developments come amid worldwide protests against racial discrimination, with a spate of companies reassessing their content.
Purge: Little Britain Removed by BBC and BritBox Over Blackface Sketches https://t.co/7enznSfYHC— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2020
Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and BritBox recently axed the sketch comedy show Little Britain, where comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams sparked controversy over their use of blackface characters while occasionally portraying people from different ethnic backgrounds.
Netizens who weighed in on the move by the broadcaster were split in their reactions. Some applauded the decision to issue an advisory.
Black man imprisoned in a bottle and condemned to servitude to his master owner... Might not be an inaccurate advisory after all.— Anarchimous (@anarchimous) June 19, 2020
Others slammed the move as “bending over backwards”.
Or: a black man with super powers helps people.— pewiggins42 (@pewiggins42) June 19, 2020
If you bend over backwards to see racism everywhere, that's all you'll ever see.
People really finding racism in anything, like funny blue genie man is now racist.— “Rex” (@RexInQuotes) June 19, 2020
“this film has outdated attitudes” on a movie from 2019 is sending me pic.twitter.com/yJo4PLao79— shoe (@shoe0nhead) June 19, 2020
What else has this dumb disclaimer? I saw Aliens has it too and I thought it was a joke pic.twitter.com/e8tcpQHPiy— Jackolope ☕ (@Jackolope__) June 19, 2020
Ok now we’re gonna have to put warnings on The Godfather movies too because I get triggered by their depiction of all Italians as mafioso.— hochi (@hochi62240317) June 19, 2020
What a joke!— Mary (@onetexaschica) June 21, 2020
On 25 May, an African-American resident of Minneapolis, George Floyd, was killed in police custody after a white officer involved in the arrest knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.
The footage of the incident set off an ongoing wave of protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and many other cities around the world.