Disney Adds Disclaimer to Muppet Show Episodes

Warns viewers of stereotypes, negative depictions of cultures in certain episodes
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2021 1:50 PM CST
Muppets Get a Content Warning on Disney Plus
Miss Piggy and company are the subject of a disclaimer from Disney Plus.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Disney Plus began streaming the Muppet Show on Friday, and modern viewers will see something original viewers didn't decades ago—a disclaimer warning viewers about insensitive cultural content. "This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures," reads the disclaimer, which the network has used previously on certain movies. "These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” but "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." The 12-second warning appears before 18 episodes, including ones hosted by the likes of Steve Martin, Johnny Cash, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Kenny Rogers, and Joan Baez, reports Variety.

As the Guardian notes, Disney does not specify which scenes it found objectionable, but the outlet makes some educated guesses. Cash, for example, plays a guitar in front of Confederate flag, while Milligan appears in multiple national costumes, "including as a Chinese person with exaggerated front teeth and a long braid." A Reddit post runs through each episode to speculate on other possibilities, including Baez speaking in an Indian accent after talking about Mahatma Gandhi. The disclaimer has prompted "cancel culture" criticism, particularly on Fox News, reports the Daily Beast. "Have we gotten to Sesame Street yet?” asked anchor Bill Hemmer Monday morning, while guest Sen. Tom Cotton called the disclaimer "outrageous and appalling." (More Disney Plus stories.)

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