The giant mouse, which gave generations of children some of the most-beloved animated films in history, is now under the microscope for racism.
Disney’s long-awaited streaming service will issue parental warnings at the start of each film — not for sexual content, drug use or language — but for some scenes viewers may consider to be racist.
The crows in “Dumbo,” which was released in 1941 and, more recently, the hyenas in 1994’s “The Lion King” portray African Americans in a negative light.
Also on the list: “Aladdin” (Justin Trudeau got in trouble over that one), “Lady and the Tramp,” “Song of the South” and “The Jungle Book.”
Most of us remember “Lady and the Tramp” for the giant lump in the throat we all got during the spaghetti scene.
But, you may have forgotten “The Siamese Cat Song.” It’s now considered racist, which is unfortunate because fans of the movie love that song. For those of us who have owned Siamese cats — they’re smart, beautiful and personable ... but have tons of attitude.
To rewrite their wrongs, Disney is slowly remaking the animated classics as live-action features, the most recent being “Lady and the Tramp.” In the new version, the cats are not Siamese.
The live-action films will be less offensive and more sensitive. They will also rake in tons of cash.
This year’s reboot of “The Lion King” made $1.7 billion at the box office alone. Then there was the Beyonce soundtrack, with streaming and home video on the way.
There’s also the suggestion that offensive scenes will be cut from future home video releases. What that will do is create instant collector’s items.
If you own an old VHS copy of “Lady and the Tramp” — hold on to it, it might be worth something.
Criticizing beloved classics is nothing new. Literary scholars consider Charles Dickens to be anti-Semitic.
“Song of the South,” which includes one of Disney’s first Oscar-winning songs, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” was a racist film. It took place on a plantation. But, “Song of the South” came out in 1946. It’s unfair to compare 1946 standards with 2019.
At the moment, Disney has played it right. A warning prior to the opening credits is more than adequate. If something can be offensive, offer the warning and then allow parents to decide for themselves.
James Miller is managing editor of The Daily Courier.