Kermit and his fellow Muppets may not be fully canceled yet, but Disney has labeled “The Muppet Show” as containing “offensive content” and has restricted viewership of the show on its platform.
Five series of “The Muppet Show” were made available on the Disney Channel last Friday, according to the Daily Mail.
Before the content is shown, viewers are warned with the following 12-second disclaimer which cannot be skipped:
“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.”
Disney also addressed the issue on its website, writing: “As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures. We can’t change the past, but we can acknowledge it, learn from it and move forward together to create a tomorrow that today can only dream of.”
“The warning is believed to refer to Muppet characters designed as stereotypes of Native Americans, Arabs and East Asians,” the Daily Mail surmised.
The Daily Wire reported that the labeling of “The Muppet Show” as offensive, incensed viewers on social media.
“Nothing screams offensive like furry puppets. When I think of a cultural danger to society, it’s obviously Jim Henson’s Muppets,” one person wrote on Twitter. Scores of people have sounded off in negative responses to Disney’s actions.
In January, Disney deemed a number of its classic animated movies were harmful for depicting racist stereotypes. The company blocked children younger than 7 years of age from watching some movies including: Peter Pan, Dumbo, and The Aristocats.
Disney said of the film Dumbo: “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 leader of the group in Dumbo is Jim Crow, which shares the name of laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States. In ‘The Song of the Roustabouts,’ faceless Black workers toil away to offensive lyrics like ‘When we get our pay, we throw our money all away.’”
Of the film Peter Pan, Disney said: “The film portrays Native people in a stereotypical manner that reflects neither the diversity of Native peoples nor their authentic cultural traditions.”