Marry Poppins
Source: Jean Belmondo YouTube

Sixty years after the movie Mary Poppins was released back in 1964, its age rating has been increased in the United Kingdom due to “discriminatory language.”

Mary Poppins Rating Increased To PG

The British Board of Film Classification announced last Friday that the rating for Mary Poppins, which stars Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, has been increased from U, meaning it contained “no material likely to offend or harm,” to PG for “discriminatory language.”

A BBFC spokesperson told Variety that the beloved Disney classic “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.”

The word in question reportedly is “a racially insensitive term for the Khoekhoe, an indigenous group in South Africa.” In Mary Poppins, the character of Admiral Boom, who was played by Reginald Owen, uses the word multiple times, including at least once to describe chimney sweeps whose faces are covered in dark soot.

“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,” the BBFC spokesperson added.

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

Related: Carol Burnett Recalls Meeting Best Friend Julie Andrews In 1961

BFCC Doubles Down

The BFFC later issued another statement giving more information as to how this rating change came about.

“For context, we only review (and potentially reclassify) previously classified content when it’s been formally resubmitted to us,” this statement read, according to Fox News.

“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.”

The BBFC states that movies that are rated U  “should be suitable for audiences aged four years and over, although it is impossible to predict what might upset any particular child.”

The BBFC defines PG rated movies, which now include Mary Poppins, as ones that should not “unsettle a child aged around eight or older.” 

Essentially, it appears that the BBFC is fearful that Mary Poppins might “unsettle” a child younger than 8 because of the use of the “offensive” word “hottentots.”

The BBFC board has admitted that “discrimination” is one of the main factors in judging a movie as needing a PG rating.

“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 explained. “Discrimination by a character with whom children can readily identify is unlikely to be acceptable.”

Related: 9/11 Tribute Videos By Disney Channel Stars Resurface And The Woke Generation Lose Their Minds

Social Media Users Respond

Social media users have made it clear that what they really find to be “unlikely to be acceptable” is the Mary Poppins rating change:

Given how dated the word “hottentots” is, it’s likely that nobody viewing Mary Poppins today whether they are a child or adult would have any idea that this was ever an “offensive” term. This is sadly yet another example of the insanity of the politically correct world that we unfortunately live in now sixty years after this classic Disney film’s release.

One can’t help but imagine that Walt Disney is rolling over in his grave right now.

Mentioned in this article:

More About: