Why Disney+ Added a “Negative Depictions” Disclaimer to “The Muppet Show”

"These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now," the disclaimer reads.

Kermit in The Muppet Show title card
Kermit The Frog performs during the 25th anniversary of "The Muppet Show" at the Palace Theater in Hollywood.

Kermit and Miss Piggy may not be the first TV characters that come to mind when you think of “offensive content,” but Disney+ has nevertheless added a new content disclaimer to The Muppet Show on its platform.

The disclaimer warns that the iconic children’s show, which originally aired for five seasons between 1976 and 1981, “includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”

“These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now,” the disclaimer reads. “Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe.”

As CNN reports, some of the Muppet Show episodes flagged by the streaming service for that kind of controversial content include one hosted by Johnny Cash in which he performs in front of an American flag and a Confederate flag, another in which Joan Baez does an Indian accent, and an episode hosted by Kenny Rogers that includes muppets dressed in Arab garb drilling for oil in a sketch.

“Rather than removing this content, we see an opportunity to spark conversation and open dialogue on history that affects us all,” the company said in a statement. “We also want to acknowledge that some communities have been erased or forgotten altogether, and we’re committed to giving voice to their stories as well.” 

Disney+ has also added the disclaimer to The Aristocats, Dumbo, Peter Pan and Swiss Family Robinson.

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