Song of the South, the 1946 animated Disney feature that the company has effectively banned in the U.S., became a trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday morning in the wake of HBO Max temporarily pulling Gone With The Wind.
As reported by The Inquisitr, HBO Max has temporarily pulled Gone With The Wind from its catalog in the wake of the George Floyd protests, which have shined a light on issues of racism. The 1939 historical epic deals with events leading up to, during, and after the Civil War. Though reflective of the racial attitudes of its time, in later decades, the film has been accused of glossing over uncomfortable racial realities and perpetuating racial stereotypes.
Now, attention has turned to another movie from the era that has an uncomfortable racial component: Song of the South.
Based on the collection of Uncle Remus stories as adapted by Joel Chandler Harris, the film, like Gone With The Wind, was reflective of racial attitudes of its time. However, through the lens of history, it has been accused of perpetuating racial stereotypes and even trying to put a positive spin on slavery. In 2013, Slate writer John Lingan called it “one of Hollywood’s most resiliently offensive racist texts.”
The Walt Disney Company has effectively banned it in the U.S.; it is not available for purchase, rent, or streaming.
On Twitter, many users noted the odd juxtaposition of having a major, blockbuster attraction, Splash Mountain, at three of its theme parks. The attraction can be found at Walt Disney World in Florida, Disneyland in California, and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan, and it features music and characters from a film that it also tries to pretend doesn’t exist.
I see that Song of the South is trending. Better get used to it people because once it’s gone, you’ll never see it again. It’s funny how this is a movie that Disney is absolutely ashamed of, but they still have a ride based off it at Disneyland. pic.twitter.com/rQV3tw4v2a
— Issac the King (@IssacFl94852488) June 10, 2020
Another user pointed out that the Walt Disney Company is not the only major film studio with uncomfortable racial content in its library; content that didn’t raise eyebrows at the time, but has since garnered criticism.
Hey Disney, look at what your cartoon rival Warner Brothers did with their controversial cartoons. THEY MADE A DISCLAIMER and continued to show them. Pretty easy to do this for Song of the South. #NeverForget #NotBeingErased pic.twitter.com/nrEf1hT78s
— Chris_Pan (@Pan_the_Puppy) June 10, 2020
Other users pointed out that Song of the South isn’t the only Disney movie that could stand to be looked at again.
“I just saw a post where someone said they should replace the “theme” of Splash Mountain (Song Of The South) with a less problematic Disney movie… Like Pocahontas,” tweeted one user.
Another user suggested that the entire controversy is overblown, as few users who are discussing it have actually seen the movie in question.
“Twitter is full of experts on Disney’s Song of the South, a movie that no one has actually seen,” the user wrote.