A student has slammed classic Disney films for being “horrendously offensive and outdated” – and reckons the Jungle Book’s King Louie is racist.
Lauren Robertson, a languages student at Aberdeen University, re-watched 11 animated Disney favourites – accusing most of them of “portraying racist and exaggerated stereotypes”.
Writing in student newspaper The Tab, she said that films like Dumbo, The Lady and the Tramp and The Little Mermaid “have not aged well”, branding them “dodgy”.
Addressing The Jungle Book, from 1967, Lauren said: “Remember King Louie the orangutan?
“You probably didn’t realise when you watched it age five with all your animal teddies lined up in front of the TV, but there is a hell of a lot of criticism about him being a racist caricature.
“He and the other monkeys are shown to be foolish and criminal, and they literally sing about wanting to be able to make the white man’s fire.”
She also warned viewers not to be “fooled by fond memories of two cute pups eating spaghetti” in Lady and the Tramp – something which is apparently “actually problematic in itself”.
Lauren said: “Repressed somewhere in your innocent little head you’ll also find the film’s Siamese cats.
“Lady and the Tramp’s ‘Siamese Cat Song’ is so blatantly racist that it has apparently been cut out of the film entirely in the remake.
“Rewatching this was actually painful and completely cringeworthy.
“Not only do the cats both look and sound identical, their characters are sneaky and quite frankly annoying.”
She also reckons that Dumbo, which was released in 1941, is also racist.
Lauren said: “The whole of the end scene of Dumbo literally relies on the crows as racist stereotypes.
“The lead crow ‘Jim Crow’ was a term used to mock black men, so you don’t have to look far to find where this movie goes INCREDIBLY wrong.
“In amongst its classic bops, Disney has many songs with pretty problematic lyrics.
“In Dumbo’s ‘Song of the Roustabouts’, faceless dark-skinned characters sing “When other folks have gone to bed / We slave until we’re almost dead.”
Some of Lauren’s harshest criticism was reserved for the original version of Aladdin, about which she explains “everything” is “problematic”.
She said: “Here’s another film that Disney have remade in order to cover up the blatantly problematic original.
“Right smack bang in the middle of the opening song, Agrabah (Arab-land) is described to be ‘barbaric, but hey, it’s home.’
“Aladdin is a white fantasy with mispronounced Arabic words and has nonsense scribbles as writing. They also have American accents?
“I totally thought Jasmine was badass when I was a kid but in reality she just bats her eyelids, gets stuck in a big sand-timer and cries into her tiger’s fur.”
Other films that came under fire in the astonishing rant include Beauty and the Beast, for ‘bestiality’, Cinderella is ‘super anti-feminist’ and The Little Mermaid.
Lauren said: “It’s not news to anyone that some of Disney’s old classic movies are not the most politically correct or culturally appropriate.
“Many of the films have not aged well, with characters portraying racist and exaggerated stereotypes.
“It’s a good shout from Disney to acknowledge that many of the films would not be so well received if they were released today, that is if they were allowed to be released at all, they’re that dodgy.
“I was pretty shocked to watch my childhood favourites back and realise just how horrendously offensive and outdated many of them are.
“Honestly I’m glad I got over my dreams of being a Disney Princess, because that dodgy world is not one I want to live in.”
Disney has recently launched the Disney+ platform where it streams old and new Disney content – some of the films now come with a warning about the outdated views and representations.