Sky inserts disclaimers for content that includes “outdated” depictions of race

Will Smith is the Genie and Mena Massoud is Aladdin in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie.
Will Smith is the Genie and Mena Massoud is Aladdin in Disney’s live-action ALADDIN, directed by Guy Ritchie. /

Sky network is inserting disclaimers into its film and television descriptions to push back against problematic depictions of race.

Sky, a UK Comcast network, is inserting “outdated attitudes” disclaimers for movies whose content may be viewed as problematic, like Gone With the Wind, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, and Aladdin. The disclaimer is written out as, “This film has outdated, attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offense today.”

Both versions of The Jungle Book — the animated Disney classic from 1967 and the live-action remake from 2016 — get a disclaimer for the orangutan, King Louie, exhibiting what many consider to be behavior that stereotypes Black people.

Gone With the Wind is set during the Civil War and is told from the perspective of the conservative south. The main characters reminisce about the Antebellum South after the war, and the slaves in the film seem to be satisfied being slaves. One of the slaves is named Mammy, who was played by Hattie McDaniel, the first African American to win an Oscar. Prior to the addition of Sky’s disclaimers, HBO Max decided to remove Gone With the Wind altogether because of its problematic content. Executive Sandra Dewey told Variety the film would return to the platform once it had “careful framing.”

Dumbo also has characters that showcase problematic Black stereotypes. The group of crows that sing about Dumbo flying, act in a “jive-like” manner and speak in broken English. What makes this worse is that these characters were voiced by white actors. The lead crow of the group is named Jim Crow, a reference to the segregationist Jim Crow laws that existed from after the Civil War to1968.

Aladdin, the original animation, received a disclaimer for its Orientalist depiction of the Middle East. The first song of the movie, “Arabian Nights” describes Agrabah as a barbaric place, another flawed depiction of the Middle East.

A shocking addition to this list was Alien. In Alien, a Hispanic woman was played by a white woman, and there was “hi-tech racism and android apartheid due to the way in which humans in the film deal with the presence of the ‘other.'” About 16 films in total had disclaimers added to them.

A Sky spokesperson told Variety that:

"“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 when necessary, including adding additional information for our customers to allow them to make an informed decision when deciding films and TV shows to watch.”"

Sky also committed to donating 10 million euros ($12 million) toward “anti-racism and inclusion efforts.” The company will be selective of content acquisitions and commissions going forward, making sure they support racial justice.

Disney+ and Netflix also made decisions to bring further context to the films their platforms share.

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So what do you think about these films receiving disclaimers in their descriptions? Do the reasons shock you? Let us know in the comments.