Censorship was a primary concern for potential subscribers to Disney Plus since it was announced, with many of Disney’s older cartoons and live-action movies and television shows having scenes and imagery that Disney might not think are appropriate in current year.
While Song of the South will likely never see a release on Disney Plus, other movies like Dumbo have been left intact albeit with a content warning.
As users have had more time to poke around Disney Plus, it’s surprised many that some newer series have been altered as well, with some edits being made and controversial episodes dropped entirely.
Gravity Falls and the Curious Case of Grunkle Stan’s Fez
Gravity Falls, a popular Disney XD cartoon series, has been on the receiving end of Disney’s censorship blade. The series ended only a couple of years ago, but the character of Grunkle Stan has had the symbol removed from his fez in the first part of Season 1.
This didn’t sit well with show creator Alex Hirsch, who took to Twitter to call Disney out.
Lol apparently the geniuses over at Disney+ decided to remove Grunkle Stan’s fez symbol for no reason, but then accidentally left it in the thumbnails because even they can’t keep track of what they’re pretending to be concerned about this week #DisneyMagic pic.twitter.com/Qg2x0eAMw3
— Alex Hirsch (@_AlexHirsch) November 15, 2019
The symbol was supposed to be a fish, but also resembled a crescent moon. Likely it was designed to reflect the symbol of The Shriners, which features a crescent moon shape.
The image changed on Grunkle Stan’s fez changed in later episodes, to one resembling a clam or fish.
The rumor is that the original version was too close to the flag of the Nation of Islam or the flag of Turkey, and that it was never broadcast with that symbol in some countries overseas. Apparently the Disney Plus version of Gravity Falls is the same edited version that ran abroad.
The Simpsons Drops Michael Jackson Episode, Crops Jokes
One of the biggest selling points of Disney Plus was access to every episode of Fox’s The Simpsons.
However, it’s not every episode, and some episodes have been “formatted to fit your screen” in such a way as to cut out visual jokes.
According to Fast Company, the episode “Stark Raving Dad” is missing from Disney Plus due to HBO’s controversial Leaving Neverland series.
In “Stark Raving Dad,” Homer is mistakenly sent to a mental institution, where he befriends a man who claims to be Michael Jackson. It’s eventually revealed that he’s an impostor who admits to speaking like Jackson because it made people happy. “Stark Raving Dad” was actually pulled from broadcast circulation earlier this year following HBO’s documentary Leaving Neverland, which chronicles the allegations of child abuse against Jackson. That would explain why Disney chose not to include the episode on Disney Plus.
I guess we shouldn’t expect a revival of Captain EO in the parks anytime soon, then?
In addition to dropping the Jackson episode, Simpsons fans are incensed that even though Disney promised to make the earlier episodes available in their native 4:3 aspect ratio, they instead dumped them in a cropped 16:9 format. The cropping has cut some of the visual jokes.
All the classic Simpsons episodes on Disney+ are in cropped widescreen format — this means you miss out on tons of great visual jokes, like how Duff, Duff Lite and Duff Dry all come from the same tube. pic.twitter.com/cTy9adulFl
— Tristan Cooper (@TristanACooper) November 12, 2019
Due to the backlash, Disney has addressed the aspect ratio issue…
We presented The Simpsons in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons. Over time, Disney+ will roll out new features and additional viewing options. As part of this, in early 2020, Disney+ will make the first 19 seasons (and some episodes from Season 20) of The Simpsons available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, giving subscribers a choice of how they prefer to view the popular series.
However, there’s no clarification as to what “early 2020” means. Also, there is no addressing the pulled episode episode “Stark Raving Dad.”
We expect more hiccups as Disney Plus tries to find its footing. While other streaming services might get a pass for a learning curve, Disney Plus is under the microscope given that’s its Disney and that the company is seemingly betting the farm on the platform.
Check out this video for more on the Disney Plus censorship issue (language warning.)
[Source: Fast Company]