‘Mary Poppins’ Age Rating Increased in the U.K. Due to ‘Discriminatory Language’

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‘Mary Poppins’ Age Rating Increased in the U.K. Due to ‘Discriminatory Language’

The age rating for the 1964 “Mary Poppins” has been increased in the U.K. due to “discriminatory language.”

On Friday, the British Board of Film Classification upped the Disney movie’s cinema rating from U, meaning it contained “no material likely to offend or harm,” to PG for “discriminatory language.”

Though the BBFC did not disclose the language which caused the reevaluation, the Daily Mail reported that it is due to the use of a racially insensitive term for the Khoekhoe, an indigenous group in South Africa. According to the Mail, the word is used twice in the film by Admiral Boom (Reginald Owen), once when referring to the chimney sweeps whose faces are covered in soot.

In a statement to the Daily Mail, the BBFC said: “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 … Content with immediate and clear condemnation is more likely to receive a lower rating.”

The BBFC did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

The original “Mary Poppins” starred Julie Andrews as the magical nanny and Dick Van Dyke as her sidekick Bert. The cast also included David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher and Ed Wynn.

The film was an immediate phenomenon upon its release, and has since been adapted into a hit Broadway musical and was given a sequel, “Mary Poppins Returns,” in 2018. Emily Blunt starred as Poppins alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep. Van Dyke made an appearance in the sequel as the uncle of Firth’s character.


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