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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.

58 mins ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.