17:03 01 October 2014
Amazon Prime Instant Video subscribers can now view a warning that the classic cartoon series Tom and Jerry may depict scenes of “racial prejudice.” It says that such prejudice was once “commonplace” in US society.
One such scene sees the mouse, Jerry, evade detection by the cat, Tom, by adopting black face make up.
Tom and Jerry: The Complete Second Volume is accompanied by the caution: "Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society. Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today."
The wording is similar to disclaimers accompanying some collections of the cartoons on DVD.
Claims of racism aren’t something new. In fact, when the original versions were shown in the United States in the 1960s, some scenes had to be edited after the network received complaints from viewers. Complaints also included concerns about the characters smoking cigarettes.
On the other hand, cultural commentator and professor of sociology Frank Furedi, said that the warning was a form of “false piousness” and a type of censorship, which “seems to be sweeping cultural life.”
He said: "We're reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values.”