All hail Amy Schumer for being brave enough to critique children’s entertainment and media conglomerate, The Walt Disney Company. The comedian, who recently introduced her 3-year-old son Gene to Disney movies, admitted to Seth Meyers that “they’re real problematic.”
During an appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Wednesday, the Life & Beth star, 40, explained why it was troubling to watch animated movies like Peter Pan, The Jungle Book and even Tangled with her son due to their racist, sexist and offensive content.
“I’m sure you’ve seen they have all the warnings now,” Schumer said of Disney’s disclaimers that are placed ahead of certain films on Disney+. “Just like, ‘We’re sorry!’ You know, ‘We’re still going to show it to you!’”
Schumer said she was excited to introduce Gene to Peter Pan, but was aghast when a Native American caricature showed up within the first half hour of the film.
She continued, “And then all the women, mostly just the mermaids in Peter Pan, they’re topless and they all speak in a whisper, ‘Oh, Peter! Oh, I’m so wet. I’m a mermaid.’”
“Is that actual dialogue,” Meyers asked, laughing, with Schumer responding, “That’s actual dialogue. Check it, check it!”
Schumer isn’t far off. Although the mermaids don’t say those exact phrases, they do “flirt” with Peter and get jealous when he introduces them to Wendy — aggressively splashing her and pulling her into the water as Peter chuckles.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want my son to see this,’” Schumer said. “So we watched Jungle Book ... don’t even try with that...”
Most of the title cards ahead of Disney’s more problematic movies, including Peter Pan, The Jungle Book, Dumbo, The Aristocats and The Lady and the Tramp, read, in part:
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.
Schumer went on to call out the 2010 Rapunzel-based movie, Tangled. Thinking “scrubbing forward” would offer her and her son better results, she was surprised to see sexist material in the 21st century animated film.
“In Tangled, if she cuts her hair it turns BROWN! Yeah. That happens in the movie,” Schumer explained. “And then she has short, BROWN hair and even though she’s hideous, the prince still finds a way to love her. Isn’t that a beautiful message???”
To be fair, the story of Tangled is a little more nuanced than that. Yes, it does show the golden-haired Rapunzel’s locks turn brown and “the prince,” who is actually a criminal named Flynn Rider, does marry her in the end — but more so for who she is than her hair color. Just sayin’.
We get it though, Amy. Disney movies of lore are very, very bad. Let’s all stick with Encanto.