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‘Mary Poppins’ age rating increased over “discriminatory language”

February 26th, 2024

Mary Poppins has had its age rating increased in the UK due to the use of “discriminatory language”.

The Disney film, which stars Julie Andrews as the titular nanny, was originally released back in 1964.

However, last week (February 23) the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) upped its original rating to PG from U due to two uses of a racially insensitive term.

A spokesperson for the organisation told Variety that Mary Poppins “includes two uses of the discriminatory term ‘hottentots’”.

“While Mary Poppins has a historical context, the use of discriminatory language is not condemned, and ultimately exceeds our guidelines for acceptable language at U. We therefore classified the film PG for discriminatory language,” they added.

“We understand from our racism and discrimination research, and recent classification guidelines research, that a key concern for people, parents in particular, is the potential to expose children to discriminatory language or behavior which they may find distressing or repeat without realizing the potential offense.

“Some language or behaviors are therefore not permitted at U or PG in any circumstance, or are wholly dependent on context.”

The word mentioned is an insensitive term that refers to the Khoekhoe indigenous group in South Africa.

‘Mary Poppins’. CREDIT: YouTube/Disney

The changes come after the BBFC enforced higher rules around racist language in 2021, with the new criteria stating that older films with such language can get a PG rating if they are “contextually justified” and not accompanied by violence or threat.

It also said that content that features the n-word won’t be classified lower than 12A/12 outside of some mitigating factors, with the only exception being if “there is a very clear and strong educational value” such as a documentary with strong appeal to a younger audience.

The changes came after the BBFC undertook research with 70 participants with high representation from minority groups in order to better understand the impact and perception of racist language.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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