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10+ Problematic Things That Happened In Disney Movies

Jordan Claes 29 Jan 2021

Over the past 80-plus years, Disney has become synonymous with wholesome, heartfelt family features. But below the surface of some of their most iconic films lies some deeply troubling elements.

Below are 10+ problematic things that happened in Disney movies. Some of these scenes are so cringeworthy and offensive, you'll be baffled as to how they ever made it off the cutting room floor in the first place.

1. The Siamese cats in Lady And The Tramp.

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The buck teeth and mock accent are only the beginning. Having to endure the song "We Are Siamese" as an adult is about the most cringeworthy thing a person should ever be asked to do.

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2. When Dumbo drinks alcohol in Dumbo.

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Dumbo gets so deliriously drunk that he begins hallucinating a herd of terrifying pink elephants.

By the way, the song "Pink Elephants On Parade" is easily the most terrifying Disney song of all time.

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4. Racial caricatures abound in The Jungle Book.

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Many point to the portrayal of King Louie and his subjects as being racially contentious and insensitive.

I recently rewatched the film and I have to admit — it's hard to argue otherwise.

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5. Pinocchio drinking and smoking in Pinocchio.

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Sure, Disney is quick to show us just how much Pinocchio is disgusted by such habits but they shouldn't have been there in the first place!

Why did they have to show him guzzling beer and puffing stogies at all?

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6. The underlying message in Beauty And The Beast is troublesome at best.

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The prologue to Beauty and the Beast ends with the narrator asking "who could ever learn to love a beast?"

It conveys the idea that it is the job of young women to "fix" the abusive aspects of their male partner's psyche/personality.

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As it is in The Little Mermaid as well.

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Ariel isn't all that dissimilar from Belle. By surrendering her voice to Ursula, she's metaphorically surrendering that which defines her — all for a man she's never even met.

This perpetuates an outdated notion that men are the superior gender and that a woman should be ready to sacrifice all that she is for love.

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7. The original lyrics to "Arabian Nights" in Aladdin were offensive to Middle-Eastern people.

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Have a listen and hear it for yourself. The opening lyrics to the song (in the original animated feature) are:

"Where they cut off your ear if they don't like your face, it's barbaric but hey — it's home."

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8. The nonconsensual kiss in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.

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How did the Prince know that kissing Snow White would break the spell? I don't remember him ever being privy to that information, do you?

So for all we know, he had no idea whatsoever that she'd even wake up. When you think of it in that way, it's creepy.

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And again in Sleeping Beauty.

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Admittedly, it's been a while since I've seen Sleeping Beauty. But to the best of my knowledge, I don't remember the Prince ever being told that true love's first kiss would break the spell.

Even if he did, how could anyone argue Aurora loved him? They literally met once.

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9. The portrayal of indigenous peoples in Peter Pan.

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I seriously shudder even thinking about this scene. Without a doubt, "What Made The Red Man Red" is on the Mt. Rushmore of offensive Disney songs and Disney moments.

It almost makes Peter Pan unwatchable.

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10. The fact that Alice In Wonderland is just one giant drug allegory.

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Alice eats a piece of mushroom and grows as big as a house. She swallows a pill and she becomes smaller than a dormouse.

There are songs about flowers with special powers and backward-talking chess pieces. It's such a psychedelic film that Jefferson Airplane even wrote a song about it.

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11. The lyrics from "Kidnap The Sandy Claws" in The Nightmare Before Christmas.

You can really take your pick of whatever verse you prefer. But my personal favorite has always been "Kidnap the Sandy Claws, chop him into bits. Mr. Oogie Bogey is sure to get his kicks."

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12. The entire premise of 101 Dalmations.

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Whoever conceived the character of Cruella de Vil must have truly been one sick puppy. Who in their right mind would make a coat from the skins of Dalmations?!

It makes you wonder how many other helpless animal victims have crossed Cruella's path.

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13. Pocahontas paints a completely inaccurate and romanticized account of history.

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To make one thing clear, John Smith and his cohorts weren't interested in singing songs that had to do with painting with all the colors of the wind.

They came to eradicate and slaughter.

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14. The racist crows in Dumbo.

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Disney was so bold as to actually name one of the characters Jim Crow. If that isn't flying a giant middle finger in the face of racial equality, I don't know what is.

This is another film that should be locked up in the vault — permanently.

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