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Mary Poppins slapped with ‘PG’ rating for ‘discriminatory language’

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The 1964 film “Mary Poppins” has been reclassified to PG due to the use of discriminatory language, particularly the word “Hottentots.”

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) reevaluated the film’s rating based on concerns about exposing children to such language.

“The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) now considers the 1964 tale of Julie Andrews’ magical nanny to be not suitable for children to watch alone, despite the film enchanting generations of youngsters,” the Daily Mail wrote.

“The reclassification is due to the use of the word Hottentots,” the outlet wrote. “The dated term was historically used by Europeans to refer to the Khoekhoe, a group of nomadic herders in South Africa, but is now regarded as racially offensive.”

A PG rating signifies the film may unsettle children aged around eight or older and includes content with discrimination that is disapproved of or in an educational context.

“We understand from our racism and discrimination research… that a key concern for… parents is the potential to expose children to discriminatory language or behavior which they may find distressing or repeat without realizing the potential offense,” a BBFC spokesperson stated.

“Content with immediate and clear condemnation is more likely to receive a lower rating,” the statement added.

“For context, we only review (and potentially reclassify) previously classified content when it’s been formally resubmitted to us,” the spokesperson wrote.

“We originally classified Mary Poppins U on its release in 1964, and again in 2013 for a theatrical re-release,” the spokesperson added. “Most recently, the film was resubmitted to us in February 2024 for another theatrical re-release, and we reclassified it PG for discriminatory language – see here.”

“Discriminatory language or behavior is unlikely to be acceptable unless clearly disapproved of, or in an educational or historical context, or in a particularly dated work with no likely appeal to children,” the board noted. “Discrimination by a character with whom children can readily identify is unlikely to be acceptable.”

The reclassification only applies to the cinema version, with home entertainment versions still rated U.

Glynis Johns, who played Mrs. Winifred Banks, passed away in January at the age of 100.

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