News Article

Animal Wrongs

A Harvard Medical School psychologist raises concerns about Disney's animated tale

Relax, Arnold, yours is not the only summer blockbuster under attack for insufficient political correctness. A Harvard Medical School psychologist, Carolyn Newberger, has gotten headlines for her criticism of The Lion King. ''Disney is very limited in its appreciation of diversity and justice,'' says Newberger. Among her complaints:

*The inappropriateness of the evil hyenas — who turn the lion's turf into ''barren rubble'' when they move in — being played by ethnically mixed actors (Whoopi Goldberg, Cheech Marin, and Jim Cummings).

*Archvillain Scar (Jeremy Irons) speaks and moves in an effeminate manner.

Disney had no comment on the accusations, but King producer Don Hahn has rejected this kind of scrutiny in the past. ''It would be inappropriate and sad to keep a racial scorecard about these films,'' he told EW in April. ''That's not the spirit of the film at all.''

Originally posted Aug 05, 1994 Published in issue #234 Aug 05, 1994 Order article reprints
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