Amazon Prime has placed a warning label on episodes of Tom and Jerry on its instant video service telling viewers that the cartoon contains “ethnic and racial prejudices.”
The warning states that these prejudices were “once commonplace in American society,” but they “were wrong then and they are wrong today.”
The cat-and-mouse cartoon first played in movie theaters from the 1940s until 1957.
Much of the discussion of potential racial prejudice surrounds a black-maid character named “Mammy Two Shoes.”
Other controversial elements include the portrayal of female characters and instances where cigarette smoking is “condoned or glamorized.”
Academics have argued that cartoons created more than 70 years ago should not be judged by modern standards.
Commentator and University of Kent sociology professor Frank Furedi called the caution label “empty-headed” and an example of the “false piousness” that has become common.
“We’re reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values,” Furedi, a columnist for Spiked Online, told the BBC.
— Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.