Disney Ditches “Splash Mountain” Over Racial Stereotypes
When “Princess and the Frog” was released in December 2009, the Disney movie was not without its share of controversy.
The Week magazine asked, “Is ‘Princess and the Frog’ Racist?” and pointed to what some critics observed to be outdated black stereotypes and pointed out that its endearing star, Tiana, who is black, spent most of the film trapped in a frog’s body. Critics also bristled at the fact that her love interest, Prince Naveen, is not black.
Alas, Disney—which owns ABC and continues to pay the alleged racist late-night host Jimmy Kimmel—announced that its famous Splash Mountain ride at Disney World will abandon its characters from the 1946 film called “Song of the South,” in favor of the 2009 flick. (It will be interesting to see how long this lasts before the woke mob attacks.)
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WESH reported that a petition to change the theme of the ride went viral on social media due to its depiction of “stereotypes of ‘spiritual’ black men.” The report pointed out that the petition said, “Disney parks should be home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be.”
Carmen Smith, Disney’s Imagineering’s VP of creative development and inclusive strategies, told the Los Angeles Times that the company “continually evaluates opportunities to enhance and elevate experiences for all our guests.”
Earlier this month Disney announced that it would donate $5 million to social justice organizations in the wake of George Floyd’s death last month in police custody. Fortune reported that the NAACP will pull in $2 million of the amount.
The Times pointed out that this is not the first time Disney had to adjust rides due to social issues. The paper said that Disney “serves as a reflection of American pop culture” and recently removed a “bridal auction” that was part of its “Pirates of the Caribbean” ride.
Tony Baxter, the Imagineer who oversaw Splash Mountain’s creation, agreed with the change and said that when it was created in the 1980s, there were not a lot of characters to choose from.
“New stories would give us characters, music and wonderful places that now reside in the hearts of audiences everywhere,” he said.