Mary Poppins is no longer 'general audiences' in the UK due to 'discriminatory language'

Mary Poppins is no longer ‘general audiences’ in the UK due to ‘discriminatory language’

The British Board of Film Classification has just made a highly symbolic announcement.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is not the word in question. The classification of the film Mary Poppins of 1964 has just been officially revised in the United Kingdom due to “discriminatory language”. The British Board of Film Classification has decided to change the classification of the Disney classic from “U” (Universal), granted to general audience films containing “no element likely to offend or harm”, to PG (Parental Guidance) , the equivalent of our “Desirable parental agreement”, due to a dialogue deemed “discriminatory”.

A BBFC spokesperson tells Variety that the term “Hottentots” is used twice in the film. It is a derogatory word, suggesting a form of racism, to refer to the Khoekhoe, an indigenous group in South Africa. It is Admiral Boom (Reginald Owen) who uses it to designate chimney sweeps whose faces are covered in soot.

Even if Mary Poppins is set in a historical context, the use of discriminatory language is not condemned in the film and ultimately exceeds our guidelines for acceptable language to classify a film Universal (U). We have therefore rated the film PG for discriminatory language“, explains the British board. “We understand from our research into racism and discrimination, and our recent research into classification guidelines, that there is a major concern among people, parents in particular, about exposing their children to or discriminatory behavior that they may find distressing. Certain comments or behaviors are therefore not authorized under any circumstances or depend entirely on the context.”

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