The Tom and Jerry cartoon series that is available for purchase on Apple's iTunes and Amazon Prime now carries a warning regarding the show's scenes that may depict "racial prejudice."
The popular cat and mouse cartoon was created in 1940 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and centers on the rivalry between the two main characters. Multiple recurring characters are featured throughout the series' multiple seasons including a black heavy-set woman called Mammy Two Shoes who appears to be Tom's owner.
The Mammy Two Shoes character is sometimes removed or altered in newer versions of the cartoon because of its similarities to the archetype of a mammy -- an African-American woman working for a white family during the time of slavery-- but Apple and Amazon decided to take a different approach to avoid being associated with the prejudices featured on the show.
"Tom and Jerry shorts may depict some ethnic and racial prejudices that were once commonplace in American society," reads the disclaimer. "Such depictions were wrong then and are wrong today."
According to The Wrap, this isn't the first time the Tom and Jerry series was branded with a racial warning. A previously released DVD set of the show from Warner Home Video included a warning that the cartoons "show racial and gender stereotypes" and features a clip of actress Whoopi Goldberg explaining why producers decided to keep the potentially offensive scenes.
"The Tom and Jerry episodes included in this collection comes to us from a time when racial and ethnic differences were caricatured in the name of entertainment," Goldberg says on the clip. "These prejudices were wrong then and they're wrong today."
Goldberg adds that "removing Mammy Two Shoes would be the same as pretending she never existed" and claims the same is true of "the other images and jokes that we wouldn't normally include in a mainstream cartoon today."
University of Kent sociology professor Frank Furedi called the warnings "empty-headed" and a form of censorship which "seems to be sweeping cultural life".
"We're reading history backwards, judging people in the past by our values," Furedi said.
Apple and Amazon have yet to comment on the racial warnings.