Disney Plus faces accusations of its ‘Junior Mode’ update blocking kid-friendly content with LGBTQ+ themes and characters

Disney Plus kids
Image via Disney Plus

Disney Plus is under scrutiny once more, this time for content restrictions for minors. Users reported that as a result of the streaming site’s newest update, viewers under the age of 18 won’t be able to view shows that have LGBT+ themes and characters.

This issue was first presented by TikTok user @ErinInTheMorning, who claimed that Disney has “hidden all of its LGBT youth programming.” The missing content was attributed to the streaming site’s newest feature, which Disney Plus calls “Junior Mode.” This feature is technically a “child-friendly” setting whereby underage users will only be presented with content deemed by Disney to be appropriate to their age.

However, this led to some shows like The Owl House and Amphibia becoming unavailable to minors once this this feature was enabled.

A few other users replied to the video, saying that they’d turned off this feature. Meanwhile, others pointed out that “Junior Mode” restricted other shows and films, such as Treasure Island, while some pointed out that it doesn’t completely hide every mature show on the platform.

A few users began to worry that this new feature might restrict younger viewers to watch Doctor Who, once it drops in Disney Plus, due to the show having queer characters and themes.

According to Streamable, “Junior Mode” was part of Disney’s way to ensure kids don’t see ads if users are subscribed to the site’s ad-supported model. However, this feature restricted some shows and films that normally wouldn’t be seen to be inappropriate for children like Finding DoryToy Story, and Frozen.

It’s pretty simple to turn off “Junior Mode” if you don’t want it activated: Users need to go to the admin settings and simply toggle off the feature.

Disney has faced multiple criticisms from the LGBT+ community. Just this year alone, multiple Disney staff members staged a walkout in Florida due to former CEO Bob Chapek not condemning the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. While it is unlikely that this feature was intended to restrict LGBT+ content, users have the right to be suspicious, especially when certain shows are no longer available for children.