Tom and Jerry cartoons on Amazon Prime Instant Video now have a new disclaimer about racism.
The BBC first noticed the disclaimer on the classic cartoons, some created more than 70 years ago, on the menu for Tom and Jerry: The Complete Second Volume. Instead of omitting episodes that contained content of a racist nature, Warner Bros. put in the disclaimer instead, for censoring would be a revisionist maneuver.
Tom & Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today. While the following does not represent the Warner Bros. view of today’s society, these cartoons are being presented as they were originally created, because to do otherwise would be the same as claiming that these prejudices never existed.
A similar warning has appeared on DVD boxes before. In recent years, Tom and Jerry came under fire for depicting blackface and for its portrayal of Mammy Two Shoes, the maid, in the cartoon. In a previous DVD boxed set, Whoopi Goldberg introduced the show by explaining why the potentially offensive material was left in.
Tom and Jerry isn’t the only beloved cartoon with offensive and racist material. Looney Tunes’s Speedy Gonzales was seen as portraying negative and offensive Mexican stereotypes and was taken off the air for several years before fans successfully campaigned to get Speedy back on the air. Those cartoons are now packaged with a similar warning.