A Disney executive defended the company’s decision to thank several Chinese government entities in the end credits of the live action “Mulan” remake despite their involvement in the ethnic cleansing of minority Uighurs.
The Disney executive said that the company had to work with the government in order to make the film in the Xinjiang region, where more than 1 million Uighurs are interned in concentration camps.
The Uighurs are reportedly being used for slave labor and subjected to human rights abuses including forced sterilization, organ harvesting and government-sanctioned rape. A survivor of the camps recently detailed the political indoctrination and physical torture he endured while imprisoned there.
To repeat: there are reportedly more than 1 million minority Uighurs locked up in concentration camps, today, in 2020. And Disney thanked the government entities involved in the ethnic cleansing.
Whistle while you work?
According to Variety, Disney:
…gave “special thanks” during the film’s end credits to eight different Chinese government departments in Xinjiang, a number of which are directly involved in the campaign that critics have deemed a cultural genocide. They include the Turpan Bureau of Public Security, which was last October sanctioned by the U.S. Commerce Department for engaging in “human rights violations and abuses in implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs, Kazakhs, and other members of Muslim minority groups.”
Following blowback, Disney’s president of film production wrote a letter to a British politician explaining that thanking the government “is standard practice across the film industry worldwide to acknowledge in a film’s credits the cooperation, approvals, and assistance provided by various entities and individuals over the course of a film’s production.”
Variety further reports that there was evidence of the concentration camps going back to as early as 2013, and that, “the campaign against Uighurs would have been nearly impossible to ignore during this period, if only because of the extreme surveillance that travelers there would have been subject to wherever they went, and the visibly growing systems of checkpoints and security checks.”
The situation in China is slowly getting more attention, as people are waking up to what is happening over there.
Disney adds warning labels to classic films due to racist content
Meanwhile, the Disney+ streaming service attached warning labels to at least eight classic Disney movies that used racist imagery and content. They include: “Fantasia” (1940), “Dumbo” (1941), “Peter Pan” (1953), “Lady and the Tramp” (1955), “Swiss Family Robinson” (1960), “The Jungle Book” (1967), “The Aristocats” (1970), and “Aladdin” (1992).
This begs the question: how long until Disney appends “Mulan” with a warning label to apologize for looking the other way while China engages in ethnic cleansing of minority Uighurs?
The movies now include a 12-second, non-skippable warning that 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. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe. To learn more about how stories have impacted society, please visit www.disney.com/StoriesMatter
On that website, Disney explained why it chose to attach the content warning label to these movies. For example, in “The Aristocats” one of the cats is depicted as a “racist caricature of East Asian peoples with exaggerated stereotypical traits such as slanted eyes and buck teeth.” The crows in Dumbo “pay homage to racist minstrel shows, where white performers with blackened faces and tattered clothing imitated and ridiculed enslaved Africans on Southern plantations.” Plus, the leader of the group of crows is literally named Jim Crow, which is the same as the collective name given to racial segregation laws.
The Disney website also says that the movie Peter Pan negatively portrays Native Americans “in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions.” Native Americans in that cartoon are repeatedly referred to as “redskins,” plus Pan and Lost Boys engage in “dancing, wearing headdresses and other exaggerated tropes, a form of mockery.” The offensive scenes from Fantasia that feature a dark-skinned centaur girl with big lips waiting on a white centaur were removed a long time ago, but Disney still chose to attach the warning label given the movie’s history. The offending scenes can still be found on YouTube.