Jun 25, 2020 - Economy

Disney to "completely reimagine" Splash Mountain due to connections to racist film

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Photo: Alex Menendez/Getty Images

Disney will rebrand the popular ride Splash Mountain at its theme parks in Florida and California because of its connection to the racist 1946 film, "Song of the South," the company announced Thursday.

Why it matters: It comes amid a nationwide cultural shift, which has seen governments, companies and individuals around the country rethink names and symbols with links to racism.

  • "Song of the South" uses racist stereotypes to depict the Reconstruction Era.
  • The ride will now be themed after the 2009 film "The Princess and the Frog," the first Disney animated movie to feature a Black princess.

What they're saying:

"We continually evaluate opportunities to enhance and elevate experiences for our guests. It's important that our guests be able to see themselves in the experiences we create. Because we consider ourselves constant learners, we go to great lengths to research and engage cultural advisors and other experts to help guide us along the way. I am incredibly proud to see this work continue forward with great leadership from across Disney."
— Carmen Smith, a creative development and inclusive strategies executive at Walt Disney Imagineering

The big picture, via Axios' Sara Fischer: Media companies are under a lot of pressure over not just what they decide to cut, but also what they decide to leave up.

  • HBO Max, the streaming service from AT&T, temporarily removed "Gone with the Wind" from its library earlier this month.
  • Last week, it said it would bring back the film with a newly added introduction by Black scholar and Turner Classic Movies host Jacqueline Stewart that addresses its "historical context."
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