Disney fans urge park to change 'racist' theme of Splash Mountain ride

Online petition requests ride theme be changed to The Princess and the Frog

Chelsea Ritschel
New York
Friday 12 June 2020 08:18 BST
Disney fans urge park to change 'racist' theme of splash mountain ride

Disney fans are calling for the amusement parks to change the theme of the ride Splash Mountain, as it is inspired by the “racist” 1946 film Song of the South.

Song of the South is considered one of Disney’s most controversial movies for its stereotypical representations of black people and its romanticised depiction of the antebellum South.

The film, which was never released on home video in the US, is not available to stream on Disney+ due to its "outdated cultural depictions,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in March.

However, Splash Mountain, an attraction at both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California that first opened in 1989, features the film’s animated characters Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear, as well as the movie’s best-known song Zip-a-dee-doo-dah.

As people in the US continue to protest racism in the US, many have signed a petition requesting Disney change the theme of the ride.

One petition that suggests Disney replace the ride’s theme instead with one inspired by the film The Princess and the Frog, which features a black princess, has been signed more than 10,000 times as of Thursday.

“Disney parks should be a home for all to enjoy regardless of race, age, whatever your background may be,” the petition reads. “While the ride is considered a beloved classic it’s history and storyline are steeped in extremely problematic and stereotypical racist tropes from the 1946 film Song of the South.

“There is a huge need for diversity in the parks and this could help fill that need. [The] Princess and the Frog is a beloved princess movie but has very little representation in the parks. Tiana could be one of the first princesses with a thrill ride, as well as giving her a much deserved place in the parks.”

Among those requesting the change is Disneyland cast member Frederick Chambers, who detailed on Twitter how he would re-theme the ride from Song of the South to The Princess and the Frog - a change he told CNN would be “very plausible”.

"The bones of the attraction are good, but I think it's time for us to take a serious look at where our stories come from and how people of colour are represented on screen and in the parks," he said.

The petitions to remove the film from the ride come as numerous other cultural depictions of the country’s segregated past have come under criticism, including the film Gone with the Wind, which was temporarily removed from HBO Max, and the shows Cops and Live PD, which have been cancelled.

The Independent has contacted Disney for comment.

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