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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."

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2020 - World

Study: Hollywood casts more light-skinned actors for Chinese market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An academic study has found that since 2012, when the Chinese government began allowing more foreign films into the country, Hollywood movies have cast more light-skinned actors in starring roles.

Key takeaway: The researchers concluded U.S. film studios were casting to fulfill the aesthetic preferences of Chinese movie-goers, in a culture that places a premium on light skin — a phenomenon known as colorism.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.