If this were a joke, like, “Soon they’ll put warning labels on the Muppets,” no one would laugh because it would sound so outrageous. And yet, that’s exactly what has happened.
The warning reads:
“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 conversations to create a more inclusive future together.”
The new content warning appears on 18 episodes, including those guest-hosted by Steve Martin, Peter Sellers, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Debbie Harry and Marty Feldman.
Cash appeared singing in front of a Confederate flag and, in Disney’s view, with negative depictions of Native Americans, Middle Easterners and people from other cultures.
The Muppets aren’t alone.
Last year, disclaimer warnings were also added to Disney films like “Peter Pan,” “Aladdin,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Aristocats,” “Lady and the Tramp,” “Dumbo” and “Swiss Family Robinson” for similar depictions of stereotypes.
A statement on the Stories Matter site reads:
“As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures. Rather than removing this content, we see an opportunity to spark conversation and open dialogue on history that affects us all. We also want to acknowledge that some communities have been erased or forgotten altogether and we’re committed to giving voice to their stories as well.”
It’s amazing that any of us survived our childhood and manage to function as adults after being subjected to the horrors of “The Aristocats” and the Muppets.