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Disney Removes 'Wench Auction' From 'Pirates of the Caribbean' Ride

Disney is removing a scene that shows women being auctioned off as brides on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride from two Disneyland Parks. The ride, which once showed a group of women standing in line to be sold to the highest bidder, will be replaced by a scene showing villagers queueing up to offer their valuables to the pirates, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday. The changes will be made to rides in Disneyland Paris, Disneyland in California, and the Magic Kingdom Park in Florida next year.

The company released a proposed rendering of updates to the park on Thursday that detail how the change will look: A sign that once announced, "Auction, Take a wench for a bride" will soon read
"Auction, Surrender yer loot." One of the wife-auction's central characters—a redheaded woman who is berated by pirates heckling "We wants the redhead"—will become a rifle-toting pirate who helps them gather valuables from the townspeople.

This is only the latest change that Disney has made to its parks' rides in order to remove misogynist or violent scenes in the last two decades. In 1997, the company altered a scene showing pirates chasing a group of women—they added plates of food in the women's hand, suggesting that the pirates were after the grub, rather than the women themselves. In 2001, frontier rifles were removed from the Tom Sawyer ride, and characters' handguns were taken away from the Jungle Cruise ride, where skippers formerly shot at animatronic hippos (the Jungle Cruise arms were restored in 2004 following public backlash).

Marty Sklar, the former head of Walt Disney Imagineering, the division of Disney that designs park rides, told the Los Angeles Times that Disney himself had always supported updates to his amusement park. "That's what the Imagineers [park designers] have done with this new auction scene—it's like a theatre show with a new act," he said.