After the summer months were marked by widespread calls for racial and societal justice, many major Hollywood studios were forced to trawl through their respective back catalogues and weed out anything that was deemed potentially offensive. Gone with the Wind was pulled from HBO Max before being re-added with a disclaimer, while everything from The Office to It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia had episodes removed from circulation.
Some of Disney’s earlier animated works don’t play too well with modern audiences, either, but to avoid accusations of trying to rewrite history by sweeping the more questionable projects under the carpet and pretending they never existed, the Mouse House instead added a disclaimer to certain titles that could cause offense.
The latest to be hit with a warning label is an episode of animated series Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the popular show that ran between 1981 and 1983. The story in question focuses on mutant superhero Sunfire, who falls in love with counterpart Starfire, and the two team up to battle a bad guy looking to convert their combined superpowers into an energy supply that has the potential to destroy the world. While that might sound like the standard setup for a children’s cartoon, Disney Plus has added a disclaimer before the action starts, which you can check out below.
“This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures. These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”
The potentially offensive material in question is based on the fact that Starfire and the villainous Genju are both depicted with exaggerated and stereotypical-sounding Japanese accents performed by non-Japanese voice actors, and Disney are certainly being smart as they look to get ahead of the game with Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends in the off-chance that it generates any sort of backlash from subscribers.