Turner Classic Movies Slaps Disclaimer on These Iconic Films

by Matthew Wilson

Turner Classic Movies is taking a page out of HBO and Disney and adding disclaimers to the beginnings of some of its classic movie catalog. Disclaimers will warn viewers the films contain “sexist and racist content.”

In total, Turn Classic Movies will be adding the measure to 18 films from its collection. Most of the films released between the 1920s and 1960s. Movies include “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Psycho,” “Stagecoach, “My Fair Lady,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and many others as well.

Rather than a simple disclaimer, Turner Classic will start each film with a full roundtable discussion. Called “Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror,” the discussion will examine “problematic” and “troubling” parts of the films. A panel will break down these aspects for the viewer while giving a trigger warning.

One of the TCM hosts Jacqueline Stewart discussed the decision to include a round table discussion before the films the network airs.

“We know millions of people love these films. We’re not saying this is how you should feel about ‘Psycho’ or this is how you should feel about ‘Gone with the Wind,'” she told the Associated Press. “We’re just trying to model ways of having longer and deeper conversations. And not just cutting it off to ‘I love this movie. I hate this movie.’ There’s so much space in between.”

Turner Classic Movies Will Hold a Discussion

Several films were chosen for having a white actor portray a minority in film. Mickey Rooney and his portrayal of the Asian character Mr. Yunioshi in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” was singled out. In the years since people have criticized Rooney’s performance for portraying an offensive stereotype.

Turner Classic is also including “Psycho” as a topic of conversation. The round table will discuss transgender identity and violence within films as well as mental illness. Likewise, the organization chose “My Fair Lady” because the film adaptation’s ending is different from the stage play and is “less feminist” as a result.

So far, the decision has drawn both its fair share of critics and supporters. Critics believe the move is another example of cancel culture in action. Meanwhile supporters applaud exploring the films with a critical gaze.

“I grew up in a family of people who loved classic films. Now, how can you love these films if you know that there’s going to be a maid or mammy that shows up?” Stewart said. “Well, I grew up around people who could still love the movie. You appreciate some parts of it. You critique other parts of it. That’s something that one can do and it actually can enrich your experience of the film.”