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Top Ten | Disney Controversies

Published: Thursday, December 3, 2009

Updated: Thursday, December 3, 2009 08:12

With the December release of "The Princess and the Frog" showcasing the first African-American princess in a Disney movie to date, we've compiled a list of Disney's less-than-honorable moments over the years. We may not have noticed them as innocent little kids, but now that we're adults (wait, what?), we're calling you out, Walt.

10. "Song of the South": There's a reason this 1946 movie has never been released in its entirety on video or DVD: It portrays Uncle Remus as a happy plantation worker in the South, which Disney thinks, just maybe, might be considered racially insensitive. Or even a flat-out bias incident.

"Sex" written in the sky in "The Lion King" (1994): A subliminal message to innocent, unsuspecting five-year-olds to stop being so innocent and just have sex already. Classy, Disney. Classy.

8. "Snow White" (1937): Considering their history of racist characters and images, it makes sense that for its first feature film, Disney would choose a pure, angelic white girl who can only be saved by her (white) Prince Charming.

7. "Alice in Wonderland" (1951): Basically, this film should be renamed "Kids, look at how much fun it can be to trip acid!" And just because something says "Drink Me" on it, doesn't mean you should. Kids, haven't you heard of roofies?

6. The priest in "The Little Mermaid" (1989): Some say it's just an unintentional fold of the robes, some say it's shoddy shadowing — but guys, let's call a spade a spade. The dude got a boner.

5. Deaths in Disney movies: How many of us were scarred by Bambi's mother getting shot or Simba's father being pushed off the ledge and trampled to death?

4. "Aladdin" (1992): Aladdin, the hero, looks like some white guy, while the villain, Jafar, is a gross caricature of an Arab man. And apparently cutting off people's arms for stealing is totally the norm in the Middle East.

3. Walt Disney: The godfather of animation, Walt Disney himself, was, in fact, a raging anti-Semite!

2. The crows in "Dumbo" (1941): They're black crows. Their leader is named Jim. You do the math.

1. The Siamese cats in "Lady and the Tramp" (1955): "Where we finding baby there are milk nearby?" Really?

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18 comments Log in to Comment

Tue Feb 16 2010 10:33
In the Lion King, it says SFX, not sex. It's a shoutout to the sound effects people - this was cleared up years ago.
Sun Dec 13 2009 14:15
According to U.S. news and world report:

Tufts University acceptance rate: 25.5% (about the same as Johns Hopkins)

Selectivity: most selective

Clearly someone does not understand that the concept of a safety school is to be easy to get into, not difficult. Yes, that was directed at you MR. IV.

Your name
Sun Dec 13 2009 14:09
Why are people taking this so seriously? It's meant to be a humor column.... Clearly humor is a matter of personal taste, so if you find it funny or not is up to you. But to complain about how it is "poorly researched" is just misunderstanding the purpose of the list, which is to be funny. I don't think they are pushing a disney boycott, in fact, I'm sure that they enjoy most of these movies a lot, they're just pointing out the strangely adult things in these movies for children. Seriously everybody, lighten up.

Also, if you want to be taken seriously, then never, I repeat, NEVER, mention that you found this on your google alert for disney....

Arts Editor Alumni
Sun Dec 13 2009 11:41
Geeze, you guys have really let yourself go.
Sat Dec 12 2009 14:02
As some of this may be true just please let it go! This is exactly what's wrong with today's days. People making a huge deal out of what should be nothing! All these parents who blame tv, movies and video games for their kids doing something stupid should smarten up and instead of wasting your time on complaining about Disney movies maybe you should sit your kid down and actually take the time to teach your kid the difference between right and wrong. I grew up with all these controversial things but while watching them I knew that it was wrong and not to go out and shoot a fox. You people have ruined so many good things for kids our days. Turning the cookie monster into the carrot monster? Really? Killing off Burt or Ernie because kids might think they're gay? Having to be 18 to buy a mortal kombat game? I played that series my whole life then one day I go to buy the latest one and I get asked for ID? Yeah I was sad when Mufassa died but to this day The Lion King is still my favorite Disney movie and no I did not go out and have sex every time I watched it.
Your name
Sat Dec 5 2009 03:38
Anyone notice how in The Jungle Book it's the monkeys who have 'black' voices and only sing jazz?

And seriously, man, you have a Google alert for 'Disney'?

Your name
Fri Dec 4 2009 23:14
For those of you who are complaining that these facts seem unresearched, there is a class at this very institution about the dark side of Disney where ALL of these statements were proven to us through historical literature. It is real, deal with it.
A113 Alum
Thu Dec 3 2009 21:47
Fun article. For 5, don't forget the fox's mom getting shot in the Fox and the Hound. My daughter watched it for the first time the other day and asked, "Is the mommy in the sack," during the scene where the hunter brings home the hound.

Also don't forget the terribly sterotypical Asian cat in Aristocats. I'm shocked every time I see it.

In terms of Disney's treatment of animators, I don't think the culture really changed, even years after WD's death, until Don Bluth gave them the finger and independently produced the Secret of Nimh, an American Tail, the Land Before Time, and All Dogs Go to Heaven. This forced Disney to get its act together and in many ways led to their resurrgence in the 90s.

Your name
Thu Dec 3 2009 16:23
10. True
9. True
8. White = Racist?
7. Partially true
6. Partially true
5. Funny
4. Not true, not funny.
3. True.
2. They were racial stereotypes, but remember that the crows were the most positive characters in the movie.
1. What?
Thu Dec 3 2009 15:36
What a load of bull.

None of this is true, just made up lies and rumors which have no evidence to back them up.

Ben Phelps, Daily Arts Editor
Thu Dec 3 2009 15:08
The weekly Top 10 list is meant to be a humorous compilation spun off of some current happening in the arts world.

Disney has a long history of racial controversy, and we wanted to point that out in a comedic way.

Along with our weekly "From the Office of the Tufts Daily" open letter, these pieces are meant primarily to entertain, so please read them with that in mind.

Your name
Thu Dec 3 2009 14:38
Because Snow White is white, she's racist? What?
Thu Dec 3 2009 14:00
I am surprised you are allowed to post such blatant inaccuracies on what seems to be a legitimate school newspaper site.
Thu Dec 3 2009 12:23
What a pathetic article. I never would have found it if I didn't have a Google alert for "Disney". Clearly, you folks do not like Disney. None of these supposed "controversies" were ever proven. Do your research before you put out false facts.
Your name
Thu Dec 3 2009 12:22
uh, alladin is also filled with numerous bong, hookah, and immature psilocybe mushroom images.
Some Guy
Thu Dec 3 2009 11:46
This person does not like white people.
Thu Dec 3 2009 11:21
Thu Dec 3 2009 09:05
Safety school drivel.

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