Disney Changes Classic Walt Disney Short To Avoid Controversy

in Disney

Donald Duck and Chip 'n' Dale in 'Chips Ahoy'

Credit: Disney

Another day, another project censored by Disney.

Considering Disney’s century-long history, it shouldn’t be surprising that some of its content shows its age. Since 1937, Disney has produced hundreds of films, shorts, and TV shows – some of which are more controversial than others.

Mickey Mouse in a hat
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Censors ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Bluey,’ ‘The Little Mermaid,’ and More for “Woke” Audiences

Over the years, audiences have highlighted multiple issues found within Disney’s older projects. Most famously, Song of the South (1946) has been universally condemned for its racist depiction of Black Americans in the wake of the Civil War, with Disney ultimately closing its Splash Mountain attractions for this very reason.

Other projects that have attracted criticism include Dumbo (1941), Peter Pan (1953), Pocahontas (1995), and Fantasia (1940).

To try and right the wrongs of the past, Disney has censored several of its own films. For example, an entire section of Fantasia has been edited to remove a centaur that reinforced a racist caricature.

A blue centaur in 'Fantasia,' which Disney censored
Credit: Disney

While some of these edits have arguably changed Disney’s reputation for the better, others haven’t gone down too well with fans. Removing cigarettes and cigars from films to avoid promoting smoking has been dubbed overkill, while Disney’s decision to censor lyrics in classic songs from The Little Mermaid (1989) for the live-action remake to avoid implying that Eric would force himself on Ariel in any way was also widely mocked.

The list goes on. Disney has censored more of its back catalog than perhaps many viewers realize – and it’s just edited another entry.

Chip and Dale in orange tank tops.
Credit: Disney

An eagle-eyed viewer noted that the Chip ‘n’ Dale short Chips Ahoy – which was added to Disney+ as a part of Disney’s recent project to restore its old animated shorts for the Disney100 celebration – has undergone an edit for the streaming platform.

I was watching Chips Ahoy on Disney + and noticed it is sadly edited. The scene where Donald blows smoke on Chip and Dale has been removed. Here’s how the scene is on Disney + and it’s DVD release on Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald Volume Four for comparison.

X (formerly known as Twitter) user @Ryan_treasures noted that a scene in which Donald Duck smokes a cigar and blows smoke on Chip ‘n’ Dale has been removed from the animated short.

“I really hope that the whole short was restored and that the censorship is exclusive to Disney+,” they wrote, “I’m honestly surprised to see this edit, considering these 4K transfers were worked on people who really care about them and they did GREAT things like restore Bone Trouble’s opening.”

Smoking hasn’t been included in any new Disney-produced projects since 2015. That same year, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced at a shareholder meeting that Walt Disney Studios would “prohibit smoking in movies across the board: Marvel, Lucas, Pixar and Disney films.”

The caterpillar smoking a hookah in Alice in Wonderland
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Erases Iconic Character to Satisfy Sensitive Viewers

The studio has since gone back and edited out smoking scenes from several old projects, including Saludos Amigos (1942) and a behind-the-scenes Star Wars documentary. It’s also famously removed cigarettes from any pictures of Walt Disney – an infamously avid smoker – at the Disney Parks. Walt himself produced Chips Ahoy and had no qualms about including smoking in his films (although notably, it’s usually the villains who smoke).

When Disney announced its restoration project earlier this year, some fans were concerned about the outcome. Disney’s previous restorations – such as that of Cinderella (1950) – have been criticized for erasing the work done by the original animators, including scrubbing it of grain so much that it removed the line work from iconic scenes like Cinderella’s midnight rush down the staircase.

Cinderella in Disney's 'Cinderella' with a soap bubble reflection
Credit: Disney

Chips Ahoy has clearly been restored with care, and ultimately, it’s not up to the animators which scenes should be cut or included. However, this change is just one more weapon in the arsenal of those who believe Disney is trying to rewrite its own cinematic history.

Do you think Disney should censor its old content? Let us know in the comments!

View Comments (12)