Even if it has the best intentions, art can come under fire for any number of reasons. That’s an issue that haunts any artist, whether they’re on the fringes of society or giant corporations. Disney is definitely in the latter camp, but it’s thanks to a combination of Netflix, a decades-old movie, and some poor word choice that there’s been a heated controversy.
The 1995 film Pocahontas is the target in this instance, and perhaps rightly so. Adrienne Keene of the site Native Appropriations took issue with the description used on Netflix; put simply, it made Pocahontas sound like she only cared about falling in love with a visiting Englishman. It’s not hard to see the negative connotations — and beyond that, Keene argued that it said nothing about the film besides the subtext of rejecting Native American culture. Given the film’s context, there’s a lot of information that was skipped over.
Netflix eventually reached out to Keene, and ultimately changed the description to something both comprehensive and respectful. It’s a sign of progress, but it’s worth noting that Keene didn’t intend to attack the film itself. The description and the meaning behind it is what made her speak out — and while the problem has been resolved, it’s still a reminder that everyone should watch their words.