U.K. pay-television broadcaster Sky has added racial insensitivity disclaimers to numerous movie offerings including The Jungle Book, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Dumbo, The Goonies, and many more. The disclaimers come in the wake of protests against racial inequality and police brutality following the death of George Floyd, protests that have reignited global dialogue about race as well as the removal of Gone With the Wind from HBO Max in the United States. According to a report from Variety, the disclaimer as it appears on Disney's The Jungle Book on Sky Cinema reads "This film has outdated attitudes, language and cultural depictions which may cause offense today" and the same disclaimer appears on Jon Favreau's 2016 version of The Jungle Book as well.
According to the report, 16 films on Sky Cinema bear the disclaimer including several Disney offerings -- Disney+'s content is available on Sky under an output deal and Disney added similar disclaimers in 2019. Among the films now with the attached disclaimer are Dumbo, The Goonies, Balls of Fury, Trading Places, Aliens, Aladdin, Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Tropic Thunder, The Jazz Singer, The Littlest Rebel, The Lone Ranger, and Flash Gordon.
Sky's adding of disclaimers to films that may contain problematic racial depictions is just the latest move in approaching such issues in entertainment. Earlier this month, Netflix in the U.K. removed an episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia that included scenes featuring blackface while the streamer also entirely removed series such as The League of Gentleman, Little Britain, and Come Fly With Me for their extensive use of blackface characters.
In the United States, HBO Max pulled Gone With the Wind over concerns about its racial depictions, though the film is expected to return with content that will broaden the conversation about what is portrayed as well as information about the reality of the Civil War and slavery in America, as confirmed by an HBO Max rep to Vulture's Josef Adalian.
"Gone With the Wind is a product of its time and depicts some of the ethnic and racial prejudices that have, unfortunately, been commonplace in American society. These racist depictions were wrong then and are wrong today, and we felt that to keep this title up without an explanation and a denouncement of those depictions would be irresponsible. These depictions are certainly counter to WarnerMedia's values, so when we return the film to HBO Max it will return with a discussion of its historical context and a denouncement of those very depictions, but will be presented as it was originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed. If we are to create a more just, equitable and inclusive future, we must first acknowledge and understand our history."
What do you think about Sky's decision to put racial insensitivity disclaimers on several films? Let us know in the comments below.16comments