Written by PTC | Published June 1, 2021
For generations, the name of “Disney” has been synonymous with trustworthy, reliably child-friendly entertainment. Any child born after 1950 or so, can probably remember watching “The Wonderful World of Disney” on Sunday evenings, or going to the theater to see the latest, much-anticipated animated feature.
Sadly, children growing up today will have a very different experience with the Disney brand, because Disney, by degrees, has been abandoning its historic commitment to children, and child-safe entertainment.
Arguably, it started in the 1990s, when the Walt Disney Company acquired Miramax – the film studio founded by the Weinstein brothers. This acquisition allowed Disney to distribute R-rated films while keeping some distance from the adult content in those films. More recently, Disney became the sole owners of the streaming platform, Hulu which features series like “A Teacher,” “Pen15” and “Harlots.” Disney has been playing a shell game to hide the fact that they are the ones distributing and profiting from this adult content.
But now Disney is getting even bolder in showing its contempt for families. Instead of releasing new, G-rated family-friendly animated features, Disney is now celebrating its villains with PG-13-rated “origin” stories, with Cruella being the latest example.
Under the old Hollywood production code, and even until fairly recently on television, there was an understanding that “bad guys” and villains were not supposed to be shown in a favorable or sympathetic light. In those days, Hollywood understood the power of storytelling, and were wary of celebrating bad behavior because of the example they might be setting for impressionable young viewers.
Those days are clearly past, because now, instead of telling stories of good character, personal integrity, heroic bravery or courage in the face of adversity that characterize the classic Disney films; Disney is instead trying to engender sympathy for the evil-doers.
To make matters worse, they aren’t even inventing new characters to produce this morally relativistic drivel – they are reusing characters rooted in child-friendly franchises, sending mixed messages about just who the intended audience really is.
Perhaps Disney is looking into their own magic mirror a little too much. Disney shouldn’t abandon children in favor of more adult content otherwise they risk children (and parents) abandoning them.