Joined: Wed Feb 28 2007, 12:14am
Location: Under Your Mom's Meat Flaps!
wrote ... Disney+ has added a disclaimer that automatically plays before 18 episodes of the recently added The Muppet Show, warning viewers about "negative depictions" and "mistreatment of people or cultures… these stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now." The message displays before the corresponding episode will play, but does not indicate what specific content it necessarily refers to.
While The Guardian recently reported on the disclaimers being added, it also speculated the addition of these messages was favored instead of cutting the flagged episodes. But as Entertainment Weekly points out, this doesn't seem to be the case: Two episodes from Season 5 (featuring guest stars Brooke Shields and Chris Langham respectively) feature major, noticeable edits, perhaps due to music licensing issues. However, as Disney has not yet commented on the matter the reasons for these changes are unclear.
But you can always count on eagle-eyed fans on Reddit to try to fill in the blanks. On r/Muppets, ItachiIshtar has made educated guesses on why this disclaimer was added to each episode--sparking a conversation about the irony of Disney's use of these warnings to "spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together," but needing to go to Reddit to find explanations and discussions.
The Muppet Show warning is the latest in a recent trend of disclaimer warnings to try to add historical context to older content. Previous examples include HBO Max issuing similar warnings to Gone with the Wind and Blazing Saddles.
By David Wolinsky on February 22, 2021 at 9:14AM PST [Click, Dick]
wrote ... Disney is determined to "create a more inclusive future"—even if it means calling themselves out.
After The Muppet Show hit the streaming service last week, fans were quick to notice that a new content disclaimer had been added to certain episodes. According to their official statement, it's meant to warn viewers about harmful stereotypes and tone-deaf depictions in some of their content.
The disclaimer 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 conversation to create a more inclusive future together."
The statement continues, "Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe."
The warning briefly appears at the beginning of 18 different episodes. These installments feature problematic scenes, like puppets wearing stereotypical Native American attire and Johnny Cash performing in front of a Confederate flag.
Some fans have questioned why Disney didn't remove these episodes altogether. But according to the official website, the goal is to encourage meaningful discussions among viewers. The 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."
The Muppet Show is rated TV-G in some episodes and TV-PG in others as a result ... WITH A DISCLAIMER (kind of about racism? For HARRY BELEFONTE?!?!?) WTF, Disney?