Peter Pan is a beloved childhood story around the world. Plays, movies, music, television shows and cartoons all follow the immortal boy in his adventures with Tinker Bell, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Tiger Lily and Captain Hook. Disney’s Peter and Wendy is one of the most well-known versions of the story, but due to shifts in cultural acceptance of historical portrayals of various races, Disney changed two simples ways to access their most famous Peter Pan property.
In early 2021, Disney+ began to remove classic films from its children’s streaming lineup due to the presence of material considered offensive by its advisory panel, including Peter Pan, Dumbo, Swiss Family Robinson and the Aristocats. Disney previously began posting disclaimers at the beginning of these and other films with content considered questionable. The film is still available for adults on the streaming service, as well as for-purchase on sites like Amazon.com.
Disney’s Warning about Questionable Material
First posted in October 2020, Disney’s warning attempts to provide context and perspective as to when and from what culture the content was originally created. Described as “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people and cultures,” Disney later removed these films for children under the age of 7.
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.
To learn more about how stories have impacted society, please visithttps://storiesmatter.thewaltdisneycompany.com :: As Of 1/27/2022
The Advisory Council
Disney’s Advisory Council includes a variety of organizations who monitor and promote equitable representation of diverse groups in media. Members include:
- African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)
- Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE)
- Define American
- Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
- GLAAD Media Institute
- Hollywood, Health & Society
- National Association of Latino Independent Producers
- The Science & Entertainment Exchange
Why did Disney Plus remove Peter Pan?
According to Disney’s “Stories Matter” webpage:
The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions. It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as “redskins,” an offensive term. Peter and the Lost Boys engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.Disney Stories Matter
Combine that with years of controversy over the term “redskin” by Native American advocacy groups and references throughout the film of the “red man,” Disney thought it best to remove the film entirely from its available lineup.
Is Disney Cancelling Peter Pan?
While Disney’s Peter Pan might have been removed from children’s profiles in the streaming service, Disney does not own the original tale of Peter Pan. Disney only owns rights and control over its 1953 animated classic and all derivative works.
Disney also continues to sell Peter Pan products via sites like Amazon, to include it’s Peter Pan (Two-Disc Platinum Edition), the Peter Pan – Original Soundtrack and even Walt Disney’s Peter Pan (Disney Classic) (Little Golden Book).
The intellectual property of J.M. Barrie’s original works on Peter Pan has mostly expired all forms of copyright. The original novelizations are copyright free as of 2007 in the European Union (expired in Spain in 2017) and the United States, though the stage adaptation won’t expire in the U.S. until 2023.
What does Legend of the Pan do differently?
Taking a realistic approach on earliest native tribes and the Victorian attitudes of the early 1800’s, there is initial discrimination between various characters due to a lack of relationship and understanding. As a young officer in Her Majesty’s Royal Navy, John has encountered various groups natives up and down the South American coast and is wary of them, but throughout the course of the books, readers will discover how Wendy’s and Tiger Lily’s tribes work and fight each other — sometimes alongside and sometimes against. Based on Captain Hook’s background and evil demeanor, he has a very low view of any one or group he considers weak, native peoples and uses various pejoratives to attempt to incite Tiger Lily in their interactions.