As a beloved children's company, Disney sure has a host of problematic skeletons in its closet. Despite princesses serving as their bread and butter, Disney's depiction of its female protagonists has come under intense scrutiny for years. It wasn't until recently that Disney made a concerted effort to consistently amend its presentation of female protagonists, as opposed to occasional one-offs like Lilo and Stitch.
In addition to how Disney presents women, there are also many overtly racist elements interwoven into several classic films and comics produced by the house of mouse.
Dumbo is typically the first film that comes to mind that prominently features negative Black stereotypes in the form of the crows. However, Disney's Song of the South takes the proverbial cake.
To their credit, Disney has scrubbed Song of the South from their library, even going so far as not to feature the film on Disney +. Now, Disney has taken the next step in expunging the movie from their record books. The famous Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland- which is named after the controversial film- will be renamed to reflect their current standing on the racist nature of Song of the South.
Disney's Song of the South has long been deemed too racist for public release. But even as criticism of the 1946 musical mounted, the entertainment conglomerate continued to profit from Splash Mountain, its beloved Song of the South-inspired log flume ride, which debuted at Disney theme parks in 1989.
That will soon change. Last week, Disney announced plans to drop Song of the Southreferences from Splash Mountain rides at Disneyland in California and Magic Kingdom Park in Florida.
The attractions will be "completely reimagined" as celebrations of 2009 film The Princess and the Frog. The animated musical is set in New Orleans and stars Anika Noni Rose as Tiana, Disney's first black princess.
"[T]he retheming of Splash Mountain is of particular importance today," says Disney in a statement. "The new concept is inclusive—one that all of our guests can connect with and be inspired by, and it speaks to the diversity of the millions of people who visit our parks each year."
Disney's decision arrives amid weeks of protests against racism and police brutality, as well as increased calls for corporations to reckon with their roles in perpetuating racism. Recently, more than 20,000 people signed a petition asking Disney to change Splash Mountain's theme.