‘Song of the South’ Is Never Coming to Disney Plus
Almost one year ago to the day, then-CEO Bob Iger said that Disney’s streaming service would “house the entire Disney motion picture library,” and that movies “that have traditionally been kept in a vault and have been brought out every few years will be on the service.” Although Iger didn’t come out and say it directly, some took Iger’s comments to mean that every Disney movie, even ones long held from public view — like the notorious Song of the South — would be available.
But then Disney+ came on line last November, and Song of the South was nowhere to be found — even as other movies with dated (if not outright racist depictions of minorities) were made available with disclaimers. Peter Pan, for example, which includes unflattering depictions of Native Americans, has a statement on its page on Disney+ warning viewers that the film contains “outdated cultural depictions.” At today’s annual Disney shareholder meeting, Bob Iger (via Deadline) stated explicitly that Song of the South would not be made available on Disney+. That movie, he said is “not appropriate in today’s world,” Expect no re-releases.
First released in 1946, Song of the South was one of Disney’s big hits of its era; its song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” won an Oscar for Best Original Song and became one of the company’s most enduringly popular hits. The movie inspired a theme park attraction, Splash Mountain, and was still being re-released to theaters as recently as 1986. Not long after that, though, the film’s questionable content came under increasing scrutiny and Disney began withdrawing it from public view. Since then it’s only been available on bootlegs — which, it appears, is the way things will stay for the foreseeable future. If you want to read more about the movie, we have an entire article about the racism of Song of the South available in our archive.
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