Smoke-Free Streaming: Bob Iger Doubles Down Against Tobacco Use in Disney+ Content

in Disney, Events, Movies & TV

Smoke-free Disney Plus Content Bob Iger

Credit: Disney

Former CEO and current Executive Chairman, Bob Iger doubled down on his no-smoking agenda for Disney+ during the Walt Disney Company annual stockholders’ meeting on the morning of March 11 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The media mogul began by denouncing the presumed notion that Disney+ would be a digital library of all Disney’s content and explained that all content proved unable to meet certain standards of description and digital quality will not be available Disney+. Iger then went on to promise that all content with an MPAA rating of PG-13 or lower would be completely free of smoking.

The Walt Disney Company’s Stance on Smoking in Movies

Now, this is nothing new. Since 2007, Disney has enacted an anti-smoking policy in its branded content, and that policy extended to its other studios in 2015. It states that smoking portrayal is only acceptable when accurately depicting historical characters or if the character and action is depicted in an overtly negative light.

Credit: The Walt Disney Company

You can read the entire “smoking in movies” policy here:

The Walt Disney Company actively limits the depiction of smoking in movies marketed to youth. Our practices currently include the following:

  • Disney has determined not to depict cigarette smoking in movies produced by it after 2015 (2007 in the case of Disney branded movies) and distributed under the Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Lucasfilm labels, that are rated G, PG or PG-13, except for scenes that:

    • – depict a historical figure who may have smoked at the time of his or her life; or

    •  – portray cigarette smoking in an unfavorable light or emphasize the negative consequences of smoking.

  • Disney policy prohibits product placement or promotion deals with respect to tobacco products for any movie it produces and Disney includes a statement to this effect on any movie in which tobacco products are depicted for which Disney is the sole or lead producer.

  • Disney will place anti-smoking public service announcements on DVDs of its new and newly re-mastered titles rated G, PG or PG-13 that depict cigarette smoking.

  • Disney will work with theater owners to encourage the exhibition of an anti-smoking public service announcement before the theatrical exhibition of any of its movies rated G, PG or PG-13 that depicts cigarette smoking.

  • Disney will include provisions in third-party distribution agreements for movies it distributes that are produced by others in the United States and for which principal photography has not begun at the time the third-party distribution agreement is signed advising filmmakers that it discourages depictions of cigarette smoking in movies that are rated G, PG or PG-13.

  • For movies produced outside the United States or where Disney’s influence over the content of films is limited (such as movies co-produced by Disney), Disney seeks to discourage depiction of smoking in its movies that are rated G, PG or PG-13 where we believe it is appropriate and practical to do so. Disney regularly reviews the incidence of depictions of smoking in movies distributed by Disney entities. Compiled results of such reviews will be made public.

Disney has stayed true to its commitment but the company has been able to do so while also preserving the purity of everything pre-2007. One of the most prominent examples is the samba-dancing Brazillian parrot, Jose Carioca. When he appeared with Donald Duck in films like Saludos Amigos, Melody Time, and The Three Caballeros, Jose–like any old portrayal of a Brazillian–was always smoking a Brazillian cigar. When Jose was reunited with Donald in an episode of DuckTales, he did not have his cigars.

Jose Carioca
Credit: Disney

If you want to see what Jose was like during his smoking days, you could still go back and watch the classic Disney films uncensored. But considering Bob Iger’s enthusiasm for content purification, one has to wonder if the old classics are still safe.

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