Editor’s Note: Whether on screen or off, Hollywood can always be counted on to keep us entertained. This is especially true when it comes to politics. Join us each week as we shine the spotlight on Tinsel Town’s A-listers and their whacky and sometimes inspiring takes on today’s current events.
Racist Disney Classics
Four Disney classics just got branded with an advisory label, which 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.”
So, why exactly are these movies being targeted? Some were first aired a half-century ago, but the woke culture has deemed these classics as harmful to minorities and other groups. Here are four shows and the reasons for the advisory label:
Released on Dec. 24, 1970, The Aristocats tells the story of Duchess (voice by Eva Gabor) and her three kittens who are left an inheritance by their owner. The butler, however, wants the fortune for himself and abandons the cats in the country. An alley cat comes to the rescue and they go on an adventure to find their way home and reclaim their inheritance. Along the way, they meet an alley cat jazz band, and this is where the disclaimer comes into play, especially regarding Siamese cat Shun Gon:
“The cat is depicted as a racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth. He sings in poorly accented English voiced by a white actor and plays the piano with chopsticks. This portrayal reinforces the ‘perpetual foreigner’ stereotype, while the film also features lyrics that mock the Chinese language and culture such as ‘Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Foo Young. Fortune cookie always wrong.”
Released Feb. 5, 1953. This iconic story about a boy who wouldn’t grow up follows Peter Pan as he takes the three Darling siblings to Never Land and the many escapades they embark upon. The watchdogs found issue with one particular scene, where Peter and the Lost Boys dance with the natives. According to the disclaimer: “It shows them speaking in an unintelligible language and repeatedly refers to them as ‘redskins,’ an offensive term.” The group “engage in dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.”
Released on Oct. 23, 1941. No, it’s not the name of the movie that has caused such an uproar. The poor circus elephant with the overly large ears was teased mercilessly and dubbed Dumbo for his looks. However, it was the crows, who befriended the young elephant and gave him wise advice, who catch the flak for being racist. “The crows and musical number pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations,” the warning explains. The leader of the birds also has the insulting name of Jim Crow, which “shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation.”
A recurring theme with the disclaimers is that white people voiced the characters depicted as blacks or other nationalities. Something that was very common at the time. In Dumbo, most of the crow gang were voiced by African Americans, except for ‘ole Jim Crow. Their song, When I see an Elephant Fly, was actually performed by the Hall Johnson Choir, an all black band, which was also very rare for the time.
Swiss Family Robinson
Released on Dec. 10, 1960. Who can’t relate to the Robinsons, who fled the reign of Napoleon so that they could live off the land, without the cruelty and politics governing their lives? Although the plan had been to go to New Guinea, the family instead landed on a deserted island and had to forge a whole new life and deal with its dangers. The pirates that attacked the Robinsons are getting shamed now for being “portrayed as a stereotypical foreign menace.” Condemning the characters for wearing “yellow face” or “brown face,” the disclaimer also mentions the top knot hairstyles, robes, overdone facial make-up and jewelry as “an exaggerated and inaccurate manner,” further saying it reinforces “their barbarism and ‘otherness.’ They speak an indecipherable language, presenting a singular and racist representation of Asian and Middle Eastern peoples.”
Cheers and Jeers
Sometimes, HollyWeird players make headlines for silly or bizarre happenings, so here is a collection of newsworthy doings — honorable and dishonorable — by the tenants of Tinsel Town.
Avengers Defend Chris Pratt
Avengers assemble! It’s time to protect one of their own, this time Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt who was dubbed Hollywood’s “Worst Chris.” Amy Berg, a writer for the Warrior Nun, tweeted out a picture of four Chrises and said one has to go: Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, and Chris Evans.
One has to go. pic.twitter.com/HUWnbQOA43
— Amy Berg (@bergopolis) October 17, 2020
The majority of online “voters” chose Pratt, and while a few mentioned his acting as the reason, most went after his Christianity and assumed politics. The actor attends Zoe Church in Los Angeles, which has been accused of being extremely anti-LGBTQ. He was then criticized for not going to a Joe Biden campaign fundraiser, which many of his Avengers co-stars attended. Naturally, this led to accusations that he is a Donald Trump supporter.
Robert Downey Jr., also known as Ironman in the blockbuster movies, defended Pratt in a scathing tweet:
“What a world … the ‘sinless’ are casting stones at my brother, Chris Pratt … A real Christian who lives by principle, has never demonstrated anything but positivity and gratitude … AND he just married into a family that makes space for civil discourse and (just plain facts) INSISTS on service as the highest value. If you take issue with Chris … I’ve got a novel idea. Delete your social media accounts, sit with your OWN defects of character, work on THEM, then celebrate your humanness …”
The Incredible Hulk, Mark Ruffalo (who was recently showing off his bare skin in a celebrities-getting-naked ad to bring voter awareness) also went to Pratt’s defense, saying, “You all, @prattprattpratt is as solid a man there is. I know him personally, and instead of casting aspersions, look at how he lives his life. He is just not overly political as a rule.”
Other cast members chimed in their disapproval as well, including Zoe Saldana (Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy), Jeremy Renner (Hawkeye in Avengers), and writer and director James Gunn.
Caroline Giuliani: “Vote for Biden”
Rudy Giuliani’s daughter, Caroline, decided to take her opposing politics to Vanity Fair in an op-ed titled “Rudy Giuliani Is My Father. Please, Everyone, Vote For Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.” Ms. Giuliani works as a filmmaker in the LGBTQ+ community and “tells stories about mental health, sexuality, and other stigmatized issues, and my goal is to humanize people and foster empathy.” She is using her daddy’s big name to disparage Donald Trump’s presidential re-election campaign. Caroline said, “Trump and his enablers have used his presidency to stoke the injustice that already permeated our society, taking it to dramatically new, Bond-villain heights.” She then added:
“So I hope you’ll believe me when I say that another Trump term (a term, itself, that makes me cringe) will irrevocably harm the LGBTQ+ community, among many others. His administration asked the Supreme Court to let businesses fire people for being gay or trans, pushed a regulation to let health care providers refuse services to people who are LGTBQ+, and banned trans people from serving their country in the military.”
Talk about taking things out of context!
The first half of the article talks about her dealings with dear old dad, with a few mentions of Trump thrown in here and there. The fluff piece doesn’t delve much into actual politics, just accusations and sensational headline-type rhetoric. The ending sentence in the piece shows just a bit of the theatrics used in the article: “If I, after decades of despair over politics, can engage in our democracy to meet this critical moment, I know you can too.” She explained the “critical moment” as akin to hanging by a fingernail off a cliff when only a good president, such as candidate Joe Biden, can help the American people crawl back to safety.
But it’s this one particular statement that really sums up the gist of the article, for me at least, where Caroline, age 12 at the time, tried to debate with senior Giuliani: “It was disheartening to feel how little power I had to change his mind, no matter how logical and above-my-pay-grade my arguments were.” The tolerant left thinking their opinions are the only correct views, and anyone who doesn’t believe them is wrong. Even if that person arguing has the short life experience of a 12-year-old.
Tune in next week to see what else Tinsel Town has planned.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.