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Walt Disney

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Uncle Walt looking gorgeous in 1946.
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The Walt Disney Company is a massive publicly traded American multinational media conglomerate that owns ABC, ESPN, A+E, Marvel Entertainment, 20th Century Studios, and several studios such as Lucasfilm and Pixar, and that's not even the half of it. Walter Elias Disney (1901–1966) created what would become the eponymous conglomerate in 1923, and created the well-known Mickey Mouse character in 1927.[1] Disney himself won a total of 32 Academy Awards and received 59 nominations.[2]

Both the Walt Disney Company and Disney himself have been controversial. Many films produced by the Disney company are cited as classic examples of fakelore, in creating manufactured folklore out of traditional stories or characters. Walt Disney was a staunch conservative and opposed trade unions,[3] while being an enthusiastic supporter of Barry Goldwater in 1964.[4][note 1]

Many conspiracy theories involve the Walt Disney Company, such as subliminal messages in films and other media. Walt Disney has been the subject of several different conspiracies and urban legends.

The man himself[edit]

Walt in 1935, looking less like your favorite uncle and more like a man who'll make you an offer you can't refuse.

Disney was born on December 5th, 1901 in Chicago, and was an ambulance driver during World War I. In animation, Disney became successful after the creation of Silly Symphonies,[note 2] and became famous after the creation of the first full-length animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[5]

Nazism[edit]

One of the most popular conspiracy theories surrounding Disney is that he was an active Nazi sympathizer, despite the fact that he would go on to create several different propaganda cartoons attacking Nazism in the United States during World War II. This theory also ignores the fact that the B'nai Brith Organization (a Jewish civil rights group in Beverly Hills) named him Man of the Year.[6]

Art Babbitt accused Disney of meeting frequently with the German American Bund,[7] which fanatically supported Adolf Hitler.[note 3] Disney was also accused of being a Nazi for seeing Leni Riefenstahl when she was promoting her movie Olympia about the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. It also didn't help that Hitler had copies of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in his private film collection, and was said to have drawn, er, traced, artworks of the dwarfs and Pinocchio in his spare time.[8] Hitler was also quite displeased at how German filmmakers could not match what the Americans were doing.[9]

The idea of Disney being a Nazi has been promoted mostly by the television shows Family Guy (which, thanks to Disney's purchase of Fox, is now owned by Disney) and Robot Chicken. In Family Guy, it is used as a recurring gag,[10] such as in the episode "Road to the Multiverse", where Stewie and Brian travel to a Disney-themed universe where Mort Goldman, a Jewish character, is viciously attacked.[11] Not surprisingly, the appearance of the conspiracy on Family Guy has done a lot to introduce it to people, and has given it a new lease on life since being published by Babbitt.[12]

On YouTube, there are several creepypastas about either a Nazi Donald Duck or a Nazi Disney movie. The videos are made using scenes from one of two short films: Education for Death and Der Fuehrer's Face, both vehemently anti-Nazi World War II films featuring images of swastikas.

Disney took a 1923 novel that was a parable forewarning of the persecution of Jews in Europe and the coming pogrom (Holocaust), Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde by Felix Salten, and totally whitewashed it without the original ending as just a story about deer with the World War II era film Bambi (1942).[13][14] Disney had read a 1928 translation of Bambi that had made the parable substantially less obvious.[15] But well before the the film was made, in 1935, the German edition of the book had been burned by the Nazis as 'Jewish propaganda'.[13]

McCarthyism[edit]

During the Red Scare, kindly old Uncle Walt testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and kindly pointed the finger at several animators and union organizers who had previously worked for him, and claimed that the Screen Cartoonists Guild was a communist front. And that a strike during production of Dumbo was part of a commie plot. See a pattern here? FBI memos indicate that he fed them information until his death.[16] So he wasn't a Nazi, but he had no problem teaming up with the American right-wing to ruin the lives of people who disagreed with him on union or political issues.

Frozen (cryonics)[edit]

Not to be confused with Disney's Frozen, which was released in order to suppress the results one would receive upon Googling "Disney frozen" prior to 2013 [citation NOT needed]

A persistent urban legend maintains that Walt Disney was frozen in 1966 after dying of lung cancer. This may stem from an interview of cryonics advocate Robert Nelson in a attempt to show that Disney supported the idea of cryonics, and who himself has said multiple times that he did not freeze Disney.[17][18] Disney's family members have repeatedly stated that he was in fact cremated.[19] This is also what appears on his death certificate.[20] The rumour's origin has often been credited to a bunch of Walt Disney Animation Studios animators "who had a bizarre sense of humour".[21] Despite this being dismissed as a mere urban legend, some aren't willing to let it go.

The Disney businesses[edit]

When you wish upon a star…

After Walt's death, the Walt Disney company became a media empire that continued to make animated and live-action movies and operate its theme parks. It also branched out into family-friendly children's entertainment featuring teenage stars.

Folklore and literature in Disney media[edit]

Heigh-ho, Heigh-ho, It's home from work we go.

Walt Disney and his company made many films based on traditional folktales and stories from the public domain. Films based on folktales and mythology include:

  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • Pinocchio
  • Cinderella
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Peter Pan
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Song of the South
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Aladdin
  • Mulan
  • Hercules
  • Rapunzel (Tangled)
  • The Snow Queen (Frozen)

Other folk figures appropriated by Disney include Davy Crockett, Pocahontas and Johnny Appleseed. Disney animated or live-action films are also very popular representations of literary characters such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, the Little Mermaid, and the Snow Queen (Frozen).[22]

The familiar face of Disney's Alice.

The deep penetration and popularity of the Disney representations of these traditional stories and figures tends to turn the Disney version into the canonical one in the public eyeWikipedia. This has been called the "Disney effect", and is regretted by some folklorists. The same thing has occurred with more modern source material; Winnie the Pooh and his companions are far more widely identified with their Disney cartoon incarnation than with the original illustrations by E. H. Shepard, which appeared in A. A. Milne's Pooh stories; and Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories, along with their illustration by John Lockwood Kipling, are largely forgotten in favor of the Disney adaptation.[note 4]

Similarly, the Mary Poppins series of children's novels by Australian-British author P. L. TraversWikipedia became more widely identified with the 1964 musical adaptationWikipedia starring Julie AndrewsWikipedia as the titular nanny than the books it was loosely based on, much to Travers's chagrin as she was widely known to have intensely disliked the way her magnum opus was translated to the silver screen, which was later dramatised in the 2013 biopic Saving Private Mr. BanksWikipedia.[23] Even sadder was with the series' original illustrator, Mary Shepard,Wikipedia daughter of Winnie-the-Pooh series illustrator E. H. Shepard,Wikipedia who received little recognition over her role in bringing the nanny to life; even Travers herself could be deemed guilty of obscuring Mary Shepard's contributions as she had a rather controlling hand over Shepard's depiction of her character.[24] While Shepard was infamously snubbed over royalties from the 1964 film, she did won a rather measly compensation for the depiction of Poppins's feet in a ballet position.[25]

Folklorists also accuse Disney of bowdlerizing the source materials, removing disturbing or tragic elements.[26] Most traditional folktales involve climaxes involving retribution, revenge and physical justice meted out on the villains. These features are muted or absent in the Disney versions (though at least the evil queen in Snow White was righteously crushed by a boulder after falling off a precipice). The effect is generally most pronounced on the folktales from the Brothers Grimm, such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. To be sure, the Grimm heroines tend to be passive and underdeveloped; most of them suffer a range of mild to severe abuse, but they are not quiet and uncomplaining. But the Disney heroines are paragons of the passive virtues: patient, industrious and quiet.[27]

This effect is by no means confined to the Grimm folktales, and affects the literary and mythology-based stories as well. In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, the mermaid sheds her tail and gains her legs in an agonizingly painful ritual, but fails to win her prince's heart, and as a result, is doomed to die because of her bargain with the Sea-Witch. She is given the opportunity to recover what was taken by the Sea-Witch if she murders the prince with a magic knife. She cannot bring herself to do this, and is rewarded with an immortal soul.[28] In Disney's version, of course, the mermaid Ariel bags her prince. This alters the story so drastically that it's been said to "betray Andersen's tale while it exploits society's obsession with physical beauty and romantic love".[29]. Likewise, in the original version of the myths, HeraclesWikipedia ("Hercules" was as Romans knew him even if that name is far more popular than the former) was (yet another) bastard son of Zeus with a mortal (Alcmena) who was harassed by the former's wife, the goddess Hera, until the latter ended up forgiving him when Hercules was admitted into Olympus and who as many other characters from Greek mythology was not exactly virtuous by modern standards, being also someone intelligent and cunning and who resolved problems such way instead of using strength. The Disney's version presents him both as a legitimate son of Zeus and Hera and way more different, being more brawns than brains and sanitized like the very deities themselves, except for Hades who is presented as not just the movie's villain (even if arguably one of the coolest ones of Disney) but also a stand-in for Satan[note 5] and the Titans who appear as hulking brutes and basically forces of nature when in the myths they were a previous generation of gods to the Olympic ones, not very different of the latter.

Disney Princesses[edit]

Some day my prince will come...

One stock character that has emerged from the Disney animated film series is the "Disney princess". Princesses figure prominently as the protagonists of Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid, while non-royal characters such as Belle from Beauty and the Beast and Megara from Hercules also fit many aspects of the stereotype.

The Disney princess stock character has been criticized by feminists for enforcing received cultural ideas about beauty, body type and femininity. Disney princesses are chaste but highly sexualized, being frequently cast in the damsel in distress role. Snow White cleans the cottage to ingratiate herself with the dwarfs. Ariel gives up her singing voice for a man. Belle endures an abusive and violent Beast, whom she redeems with love.[30]

On the flip side, the Disney princes initially barely received screen time at all, let alone any character development. Go ahead, name the Disney princes from Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, or Beauty and the Beast.[note 6] If the Disney Princess told girls that they should be happy in the kitchen, it told boys that they didn't even exist outside of their wives. Possibly they were just victims of narrative efficiency. In fact, Belle in the Disney movie doesn't show any affection towards the Beast until he changes his abusive behavior, learning to control his temper and replacing his cruelty with affection, in marked contrast to even more modern stories where the girl simply accepts the boy for who he is. The Beast is required to alter himself before Belle shows interest in him, which directly contradicts the abuse narrative.

Progressing further, we have the likes of Fa Mulan, who is basically trying to survive in a man's world (army) as she doesn't want her father (Zhou) to shoulder that burden in his old age. Her inability to keep up with the male recruits is averted sexism, as she eventually does catch up to them; the real problem is that she is unused to hard physical labor, not that she has the wrong chromosomes. As fantastical as some of the story is, she is shown as strong, intelligent and capable, feeling like an extremely strong departure of the formula. Even further is the entire plotline of Frozen, featuring two princesses (and sisters) having to deal with their own issues without so much man help. The "princess" issue is lampshaded in Moana, where the title character gets into an argument with the demigod Maui as to whether the daughter of a chief counts as a princess or not.

Copyright extension myth (and the reality)[edit]

That one movie that gained notoriety for allegedly putting a damper on public domain laws.

Disney lobbyists are said to have fought hard for the Copyright Term Extension ActWikipedia of 1998, which added twenty-five years to the extension of copyright in the United States (i.e. adopted a copyright term of life plus seventy years). Fears that the first Mickey Mouse short Steamboat Willie (1928) was about to enter the public domain have often been cited as one of the motivating factors for the legislation; there have even been attempts to link the times it almost entered the public domain with the times at which copyright extensions were adopted.[31] As a result, the law is derisively known by its detractors as the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act".[32]

The United States, however, adopted this longer term rule so that it would have the same copyright term as the European Union, which in turn (as the European Community) adopted it in 1993 to match the length of copyright terms in its member states (of these, Germany adopted it first in 1965!) so the copyright's protection would effectively protect both the author and the first two generations of their descendants.[31] In the directive that adopted the larger term, the EU also adopted the rule of the shorter termWikipedia, which means that the term that is valid for foreign works in the EU is either the EU's term or the country of origin's term, whichever is the shortest.[33] After all, the US is the world's largest exporter of cultural goods, and the EU, when taken together, is the world's largest market.[33]

In fact, Disney did not — and does not — need copyright protection for Mickey Mouse based on Steamboat Willie. First, the copyrights Disney was in risk of losing were over Steamboat Willie and a couple of other early Mickey cartoons, not the whole repertoire; second, Mickey has overwhelmingly changed over the years: he "gained distinctive colors, put on weight, gained eyeballs and eyelashes, acquired white gloves and an opposable thumb, and learned to speak (originally he could only whistle and play music), among other changes", so it's doubtful whether modern-day Mickey would be in any way protected by the copyrights on his early shorts; third, Mickey Mouse is a trademarked character, which has perpetual protection and covers a much wider range of products,[note 7] so why even bother with copyright extensions on cartoons so old that not even one person involved in making them is still alive?[34]

Furthermore, while Disney did lobby for the law, a wide range of interests were also involved (the Motion Picture Association of America, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, the George Gershwin estate, and others), and contrary to popular belief, the bill was not "snuck in" to Congress; a large number of people went there or wrote them to discuss it beforehand.[note 8][35]

Steamboat Willie and the earliest version of Mickey Mouse that appears in it finally entered the public domain in the United States on January 1, 2024.[36] This inevitably opened a Pandora's box of memes ridiculing both the copyright situation and Disney in general, though some of them ended up being of questionable taste,[37] particularly the survival horror video game Infestation: OriginsWikipedia, whose original title Infestation '88 brought about concerns regarding the developers' alleged use of neo-Nazi themes and antisemitic tropes which the developers vehemently denied,[38] never mind that the former title itself and a number of references such as its use of the number 14 and the aforementioned "88" are evidently dog whistles to the developer's true intentions.[39]

Song of the South[edit]

Poster for Song of the South

Disney's 1946 mixed animation and live-action film Song of the South,Wikipedia based on the Uncle Remus[40] stories by Joel Chandler Harris,Wikipedia won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1948 for "Zip-a-Dee Doo Dah", which itself bears a strong resemblance to the minstrel song "Ole Zip Coon".[41] But the film has never been released on video in its entirety in the United States, although home video releases exist in Europe and Japan. The film is also remembered as the basis for the ride Splash Mountain at Walt Disney World; said ride was re-themed to a Princess and the Frog attraction following the George Floyd protests where companies have reviewed and reconsidered their use of potentially offensive racial stereotypes in their products. At-the-time Disney CEO Bob Iger has stated that Song of the South will never be added to their streaming service Disney+, even though they included some other films with racist content like Peter Pan and Dumbo with a disclaimer about "outdated cultural depictions".[42]

The Walt Disney Company deems the film's framing story too potentially controversial. It has been called racist because of its depiction of an idyllic life being led by black freedmen in post-war Georgia, with a curiously integrated plantation manor house to boot, with no obvious indication that it is set during Reconstruction, resulting in many of the film's critics incorrectly dating the film to slavery days and assuming the Black characters are slaves. The NAACP asked the Disney filmmakers to insert a placard in the film noting the post-war date of the Uncle Remus stories. For whatever reason, this was not included in the release. Besides, it's not as if slavery in the United States actuallyWikipedia endedWikipedia after the American Civil War.[43] Perhaps the ultimate irony about it (or most fitting, depending how you look at it) was that the star actor James BaskettWikipedia — who was the first black man to win an Academy Award, albeit an honorary one no less — wasn't allowed to attend the premiere due to segregation.[44]

Former child stars[edit]

Many former Disney child stars, especially from its children's-oriented live TV programming, ended up having serious problems in adulthood, including drug issues and stints in rehabilitation, legal problems and other sorts of public scandals.[45] Lindsey Lohan,Wikipedia Britney Spears,Wikipedia Miley Cyrus,Wikipedia Demi Lovato,Wikipedia and Shia LaBeoufWikipedia have all experienced similar issues as adults. Another notable Disney alum who went through serious issues in adulthood was Peter Pan star Bobby Driscoll,Wikipedia who was found dead in an apparent drug overdose after ending up penniless.[46] Not helping matters was the 2022 Disney+ film Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers portraying Peter Pan as a washed up former Disney cartoon character, in an apparent parallel to Driscoll's career decline.[47]

Former child stars have blamed Disney's control over all aspects of their lives, including the manufacture of relationships for publicity purposes, as a part of the cause of this phenomenon.[48][49]

The Lion King[edit]

It's our trouble-free philosophy[note 9]

In 1994, Disney released the animated film The Lion King,Wikipedia which received universal acclaim. However, it also faced a variety of protests:

  • Accusations of plagiarism of the Japanese TV series Kimba the White Lion.Wikipedia[50]
  • Donald Wildmon of the American Family Association went apeshit when he thought he saw the word "sex" spelled in some dust that Simba creates in one of the scenes. An animator claimed that it actually read "SFX" as in "special effects".
  • A boycott by hyena biologists who claimed the film misrepresented hyenas.
  • Accusations that the film advanced racism and sexism.
  • An accusation that the film (along with other Disney films) advanced fascism. This accusation by Matt Roth also repeated the accusation that Walt Disney at one time had Nazi sympathies.[51]

Just before the 2019 remake was released, Dan Hassler-Forest called its plot line irredeemably fascist:

At a moment when the far right is on the rise, when we debate whether to call the horrific shelters on our border concentration camps, and when anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate crimes continue to increase, we should ask ourselves what it means to obsessively revisit narratives that celebrate the strong, the beautiful and the powerful, while looking down upon the rebels, the outcasts and the powerless. "The Lion King" is exactly that kind of story, and it will take more than Beyoncé's regal vocal cords to redeem it for the next generation.[52]

"UFO" documentary[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Unidentified flying object

In 1995, Disney quietly broadcast a documentary in five states (including California and Florida) that contained supposed evidence about UFOs. However, it was mainly a promotion for the Extraterrorestrial: Alien Encounter ride in Disneyland Florida, and none of the cases shown in the documentary have been proven with certainty to be extraterrestrial. Then there are conspiracy theorists that shoehorn in the Illuminati and New World Order to propose that the video and ride were part of a plot to prepare citizens for real abduction and alien colonization (or perhaps Project Blue Beam).[53]

Mulan[edit]

Disney's 2020 live-action remake of Mulan featured in its credits a "special thanks" to "four Chinese Communist Party propaganda departments in the region of Xinjiang as well as the Public Security Bureau of the city of Turpan in the same region — organizations that are facilitating crimes against humanity" against the Uighur ethnic minority.[54] Mulan has also been described as a nationalist pseudohistory that denies Uighur history.[55]

Snow White, The Lil' Mermaid and the perceived wokeness[edit]

Not a screenshot from the upcoming live-action Snow White remake.

As with other major film studios who received similar criticism for what amounts to message picturesWikipedia prioritising sociopolitical agendas over apolitical stories, Disney in recent years gained backlash for what was perceived as pandering towards political correctness and wokeness by shoehorning persons of color in roles traditionally portrayed by white actors, a notable example being Latina actress Rachel ZeglerWikipedia as the title character in the upcoming Snow WhiteWikipedia live-action remake.[56] While some have indeed mocked Zegler on racist grounds,[57] other critics argue that the casting of a non-white actor in the role of Snow White makes next to no sense considering the character herself ("Lips red as the rose, skin white as snow...") and the setting of the story, i.e. a 16th-century Germanic kingdom where Latino people are unlikely to wind up in such a locale, not to mention that such casting choices have been perceived as a cynical publicity stunt done for the sake of "brownie points" both to woo audiences who are understandably sick and tired of other ethnic groups being underrepresented,[58] never mind the fact that Disney has been hypocritical towards representation when scenes featuring LGBTQ+ characters have been excised from certain localised releases to appease authoritarian regimes. Some have also opined that the concept of using ethnic minorities in traditionally-white roles aka color-blind castingWikipedia have become something of an equally cynical business model, where companies anticipate controversy from bigots and plays into both their sentiments and those of the actors themselves and the general public, i.e. the "corporate monetization of bigotry".[59] A similar controversy ensued with the 2023 The Little MermaidWikipedia live-action remake, starring African-American singer and actress Halle BaileyWikipedia as Princess Ariel. Wingnuts took to dish out bigotry against what they pejoratively called a "nigmaid";[60] Halle Bailey herself chose to just largely ignore all the bad rap she got from portraying the traditionally-white role;[61] a Black blogger opined that while the casting of an African-American actress is important to them and "goes against literally centuries of White beauty standards and societal norms", they also noted that Disney ignored the more unpleasant aspects of being a Black person during the time period the film takes place, i.e. the Caribbean during the 18th century where Ariel would've ended up being sold at a slave auction should she be unlucky (assuming that she was not caught as mermaid instead of as human and ended up in some sort of menagerie, that is).[62]

Another point of criticism with the Snow White remake would be the portrayal of the Seven Dwarfs, which prominent dwarf actor Peter DinklageWikipedia (of Game of Thrones fame) criticised in a 2022 interview, stating that the remake is "renewing damaging stereotypes", and later went on to say "You’re progressive in one way but you’re still making that fucking backward story of seven dwarves living in the cave. What the fuck are you doing, man?"[63][note 10] Others in the dwarfism community expressed dissenting views, however, such as professional wrestler Dylan Postl, better known by his ring persona HornswoggleWikipedia. Postl accused Dinklage of virtue signalling and expressed concern about Disney potentially replacing the dwarf characters with magical creatures, depriving dwarf actors of a potential major acting role, and denounced Dinklage as "hypocritical" and "selfish...trying to get roles away".[64] Comedian Brad Williams also expressed a similar sentiment: while he did partially agree with Dinklage by ironically calling the portrayal "mildly offensive", he opined that there are ways to amend the portrayal by depicting the Dwarfs as a potential love interest for Snow White and de-emphasizing the prince's role in the story, also complimenting the positive aspects of the characters: "I mean, they have jobs, you know? They got good friends. They got a house. They like to protect her [Snow White]. They're diamond miners, so they're rich. They're self-made, wealthy."[65] In August 2023, television personality and JackassWikipedia alum Jason AcuñaWikipedia, better known by his stage name Wee Man, also harshly criticised Disney for casting average-sized actors in place of little people, opining "You’re replacing jobs that people could have as little people. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it’s for dwarfs. Why are you hiring Snow White and the Seven 'average people?'", comparing it unfavourably to the similarly controversial casting decision with the 2023 WonkaWikipedia prequel film where Hugh GrantWikipedia was cast as an Oompa-Loompa.[66][67]

No, Florian, please, NO!

Consensual interactions also became a hot-button topic with the Snow White franchise (and by extension the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale in general), where the unnamed prince[note 11] is shown to be kissing the seemingly deceased princess to bid his last respects to her. This didn't bat anyone's eyebrows for decades, but the current cultural zeitgeist has prompted some especially moonbats to go ballistic on what they perceive as "a form of s*xual assault–even if it’s a Disney movie".[68][69] Heck, even Kristen BellWikipedia–who voiced Princess AnnaWikipedia in Frozen–claims she felt uncomfortable with the portrayal and stated that the film is sending a misleading message to young girls (which is perhaps why her portrayal of Anna as a naïve romantic and Hans as a scheming fiend is seen as a deconstruction of the princess formula).[70] This outrage extended to the Disneyland dark ride based on the movie where an animatronic portrayal of the kissing scene is shown prominently towards the end.[71]

Further adding fuel to the fire was with Rachel Zegler herself lambasting the original movie in which the remake she starred in was based upon, reportedly stating that she watched the 1937 film once and has since been uncomfortable with it, making spurious claims about how the Prince was (supposedly) a stalker out to hit random noblewomen; this predictably sparked outrage harshly criticising Zegler as a public relations disaster at Disney's expense, with some wondering if this would result in a scenario not unlike the live-action Mulan remake.[72] It went to the point where even the son of one of the original film's directors harshly criticised the film, calling it a "disgrace" and opining that the film's direction is an insult to Walt's legacy as a purveyor of animated classics.[73]

This however ignores the fact that the fairy tale is a product of its time and thereby shouldn't be gauged in a contemporary sociocultural context (in the era of abuse scandals such as #MeToo among others), not to mention that condemning perceived moral indiscretions in (children's) media contributes more to cancel culture and provides a cause célèbre for equally vile reactionary wingnuts to take the piss on. The SFGate article about the Disneyland ride was also criticised by some as amounting to agents provocateur to provoke manufactured outrage and discussion.[74] Interestingly enough, the Grimms themselves did revise the tales they popularised over the decades, particularly with that infamous original ending where the Evil Queen was forced by the prince to dance to her death wearing red-hot iron shoes. If Uncle Walt did produce the film in the backdrop of the present-day sociopolitical climate, he would've had Prince Florian bring up a computer keyboard and press the letter F to pay his last respectsWikipedia instead.

Funding homophobic politicians[edit]

Disney had already incited a lot of ire from the queer community in recent years, whether due to the lackluster attempts at LGBTQ+ representation despite heavily marketing around such as well as the unexplained semi-cancellation of The Owl House,Wikipedia[note 12] however, things reached a head when it was discovered that the corporation had donated $200,000 to the Republicans behind Florida's notorious "don't say gay bill" sponsored by Florida governor Ron DeSantis.[75] Apparently, despite all of Disney's posturing about how they are supposedly LGTBQ+ inclusive, in the end getting tax breaks on their theme park is more important. Ultimately, after a predictable backlash Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek said they would be "pausing" donations to Florida politicians.[76]

The outrage over the homophobia controversy prompted Disney to mandate a "no censorship" policy in subsequent features distributed by the company, most recently being the Pixar-produced Lightyear,Wikipedia whose same-sex kiss scene caused the film to be banned in Muslim-majority countries and given an NC-16 rating in Singapore due to their disdain for what they view as perverted and/or sexual.[77]

When Disney decided to take a stand against the bill, it unleashed a whole new beast of accusations towards the company, accusing them of supporting child grooming in opposition to the Florida bill. All of this led to DeSantis taking over Disney's Reedy Creek Improvement District.[78]

Supposed subliminal messages[edit]

Disney has secretly been part of the Illuminati for as long as Photoshop has existed, it seems...

While most people criticize Disney for greed and other things, others accuse the company of putting subliminal messages in their productions. Conspiracy theorists have claimed that this was to promote Satanism or sexual perversion within the young people. Usually, they would either point to characters using the Horns hand sign, sex symbols [note 13] or would even claim that the Walt Disney Logo contains 666. Why would they want to openly give out bread crumbs about their master plan? Who knows. To be fair, the subliminal images in Disney usually are the hidden Mickeys within their productions, and theme parks.

Fox[edit]

On December 14, 2017, the Walt Disney Company announced its intention to purchase the majority of 21st Century Fox (TFCF) for US$52.7 billion,[79] which would give them a market share of the North American film industry of two-and-a-half times over its closest rival (Warner Bros.), make them the overwhelmingly dominant force in international sports programming via Fox Sports International which was later absorbed into ESPN,[note 14] (Rupert Murdoch would keep his propaganda machines and the U.S. Fox Sports 1/2/Go channels; all the regional sports channels owned by Fox, including Big Ten Network, were originally part of the deal, but the U.S. Department of Justice ordered the company to divest them upon approving the merger, and they were eventually acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group)[80][81][82] and make them the majority shareholder of online streaming service Hulu, Netflix's closest competitor. The merger was completed on March 20, 2019.[83] The day before it was completed, Murdoch's Fox Corporation officially became an operation completely separate from 21st Century Fox; one of the board members of "New Fox" is a Randroid by the name of Paul Ryan.[84] Fox Corporation retained the Fox brand and trademarks in most countries.[note 15] To further distance themselves from Murdoch, Disney is gradually rebranding acquired TFCF assets and dropping Fox brand usage worldwide.[note 16]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. All this is in contrast with his father Elias, who was a socialist and strong supporter of Eugene V. Debs. Hadn't his colleagues at Universal Studios betrayed him when he was fighting for better money…
  2. Silly Symphonies was the first appearance of many recognizable Disney characters, such as Donald Duck and Pluto.
  3. Even though Hitler considered the Bund a nuisance interfering in his plan to keep the US neutral.
  4. Fortunately, Disney has not been able to entirely displace the Tenniel illustrations for Alice in Wonderland from the canon.
  5. To be fair, Hades as the villain and an equivalent of Satan, even if in mythology was one of the nicest deities by their standards and whose main fault was his association with death and the Underworld, is so common that TVTropes has an article just devoted to that
  6. Well, the one from Sleeping Beauty has a name. He's called Prince Phillip. These characters are all typically called "Prince Charming"Wikipedia. That phrase was first used in English literature in Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Grey, where it is used ironically to refer to the title character as he abandons his actress girlfriend, and she commits suicide. Wilde's use of the phrase suggests that this name was already current for the stock character.
    In the Francophone tradition the "Prince Charming" character is often called Avenant, "fine" or "pretty" in French..
    In Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête (1946, translated as Beauty and the Beast), Belle is given a human suitor called Avenant, who plots to kill the Beast. Disney borrowed Cocteau's amendment to the original folktale without credit, but renamed the corresponding character Gaston.
    The equivalent of "Prince Charming" in Spanish and Italian is the 'Blue Prince' (Príncipe Azul, Principe Azzurro). In Portuguese, it is the "Enchanted Prince" (Príncipe Encantado).
    Snow White's Prince is a bit of a complicated affair: While official literature did not give him a name (cast members roleplaying as characters will simply refer to him as "The Prince"), expanded universe material would occasionally refer to him as Florian, e.g. on Disney on Ice and foreign-language affiliates of the Disney Channel. Contrary to popular belief, the "Ferdinand" mentioned by Shirley Temple in a speech where she presents a honorary Oscar to Walt Disney was actually Ferdinand the Bull.
  7. According to academic Scott M. Martin, "Disney holds federal trademark registrations that, unlike copyright, can confer perpetual protection for classes of goods, including motion pictures, comic strips, songs, books and newspapers, paper goods and other printed matter, clocks and watches, entertainment services, hair shampoo, lip gloss, bubble bath, skin soap, sunglasses, decorative refrigerator magnets, jewelry, photograph albums, address books, appointment books, paper party bags, ball point pens, binders, paper gift wrap bows, paper cake decorations, calendars, gift cards, greeting cards, pen and pencil cases, decorative paper centerpieces, paper table cloths, paper party decorations, diaries, gift wrapping paper, pencils, stationery, athletic bags, baby backpacks, backpacks, book bags, duffel bags, gym bags, tote bags, coin purses, fanny packs, knapsacks, waist packs, umbrellas, wallets, decorative non-metal boxes, beverage glassware, bowls, lunch boxes, hair brushes, hair combs, cake molds, wind chimes, decorative plates, cookie jars, mugs, paper cups, paper plates, soap dishes, vacuum bottles, bed sheets, pillow cases, comforters, curtains, dust ruffles, towels, bathing suits, robes, beachwear, underwear, sweaters, dresses, infant wear, jackets, pajamas, pants, sweat pants, sweatshirts, shirts, shorts, sleepers, t-shirts, tank tops and vests, Christmas tree ornaments, rubber balls, plush toys, action skill games, bath toys, board games, toy building blocks, dolls, children's play cosmetics, electric action toys, jigsaw puzzles, kites, music box toys, inflatable pool toys, and children's multiple activity toys".
  8. Scott M. Martin states: "At the congressional hearings on the issue of copyright term extension held on September 20, 1995, Bruce A. Lehman, Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks, and Marybeth Peters, Register of Copyrights and Associate Librarian of Congress for Copyright Services, testified on behalf of the Administration.
    The Committee also heard testimony from Jack Valenti, president and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America; Alan Menken, composer, lyricist, and representative of AmSong; Patrick Alger, president of Nashville Songwriters Association; and Professor Peter A. Jaszi, American University, Washington College of Law. In addition, written statements were received from Senator Christopher J. Dodd, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the National Music Publishing Association Inc., the Songwriters Guild of America, the Graphic Artists Guild, the National Writers Union, the Coalition of Creators and Copyright Owners, Author Services Inc., the Midwest Travel Writers Association, Donaldson Publishing Co., the American Library Association, the American Film Heritage Association, the Society for Cinema Studies, Lawrence Technology, Bob Dylan Jr., Don Henley, Carlos Santana, Stephen Sondheim, Mike Stoller, E. Randol Schoenberg, Ginny Mancini, Lisa M. Brownlee, Professor William Patry, and Professor Dennis Karjala writing on behalf of forty-five intellectual property law professors." (Karjala et al. were in fact opposed to the copyright extension.).
  9. The graffiti, painted in Spain in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, originally read, La vacuna mata ("The vaccine kills"), before being altered to reference the song "Hakuna MatataWikipedia" from The Lion King.
  10. Never mind the fact that Dinklage made factual errors in his criticism: while they do earn a living by mining diamonds in a cave, the titular dwarfs live in a cottage.
  11. Named in some spinoff media as Florian, though cast members who are "friends with" the characters simply refer to him as "The Prince".
  12. The official reason given was that its audience skewed too old, but the show's creator strongly suspects that its LGBTQ content was a factor.
  13. There is a plethora of accusations on this. These include the aforementioned Simba "SFX" dust, a priest's knees mistaken for an erection in The Litte Mermaid, and so on.
  14. Except for Argentina and Mexico, which Disney was forced to sell because of its market share overlapping with ESPN.
  15. Except in Australia, where the trademarks are owned by News Corp Australia, another Murdoch company. Fox Corporation also licensed the trademarks of "Fox Sports" to external companies in Argentina and Mexico.
  16. Under the terms of acquisition and transitional agreement with Fox Corporation, Disney will stop using Fox brand internationally in 2024. Fox Corporation also granted perpetual brand licenses for "20th Century Fox" to Disney although Disney opted to rebrand it to "20th Century Studios".

References[edit]

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  13. 13.0 13.1 Bambi: cute, lovable, vulnerable … or a dark parable of antisemitic terror? A new translation of Felix Salten’s 1923 novel reasserts its original message that warns of Jewish persecution by Donna Ferguson (25 Dec 2021 07.00 EST) The Guardian.
  14. The Original Bambi: The Story of a Life in the Forest by Felix Salten, translated by Jack Zipes (2022) Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691197741.
  15. Bambi: A Life in the Woods by Felix Salten, translated by Whitaker Chambers (1928) Cape.
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  34. Scott M. Martin (2002), "The Mythology of the Public Domain: Exploring the Myths Behind Attacks on the Duration of Copyright Protection", section "XXI. Myth #10: 'The CTEA was the worst kind of special-interest legislation, engineered by Disney in order to satisfy its insatiable corporate greed'", subsection "B. Sub-myth B: 'Disney was about to lose all rights to Mickey Mouse and would stop at nothing to get an extension of the term of copyright extension'" (Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review).
  35. Scott M. Martin (2002), "The Mythology of the Public Domain: Exploring the Myths Behind Attacks on the Duration of Copyright Protection", section "XXI. Myth #10: 'The CTEA was the worst kind of special-interest legislation, engineered by Disney in order to satisfy its insatiable corporate greed'", subsections "C. Sub-myth C: 'The CTEA was Snuck Through Congress Without Debate and Without Legislative History'" and "E. Sub-myth E: 'The CTEA was Special-Interest Legislation that Only Disney Cared About'" (Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review).
  36. Noor Nanji, "Disney's earliest Mickey and Minnie Mouse enter public domain as US copyright expires" BBC News, 1 January 2024
  37. Public domain Mickey Mouse is already being used to create controversial memes
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  39. Mickey Mouse horror game to change name after Nazi dog whistle accusations
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  41. What’s the Historical Background of “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah”?, Debi Simons, Behind the Song 10 September 2018
  42. Bob Iger Confirms ‘Song Of The South’ Won’t Be Added To Disney+, Even With Disclaimer, Tom Grater, Deadline 11 March 2020
  43. US Slavery Ended in 1942, Eli Wachs, Contemporary Beacon 18 October 2018
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  49. Mara Wilson On Why Child Stars Go Crazy: Former Child Actor Offers An Insider's Perspective, Huffington Post, 05/28/13
  50. YMS: Kimba the White Lion
  51. The Lion King: A short history of Disney-fascism by Matt Roth (1996) Jump Cut 40:15-20.
  52. 'The Lion King' is a fascistic story. No remake can change that. No matter how you look at it, this is a film that introduces us to a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong by Dan Hassler-Forest (July 10, 2019) The Washington Post.
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  55. 'Mulan' Has a Message: Serve China and Forget About the Uighurs: Disney’s live-action remake was filmed partly in Xinjiang amid mass human rights abuses. by Jeannette Ng (September 8, 2020, 1:17 PM) Foreign Policy.
  56. Rachel Zegler Recalls Snow White Casting Backlash: “People Were Angry”
  57. Rachel Zegler blasts 'Snow White' casting backlash
  58. Why do some people use the term 'forced diversity' when they cast a non-white actor for a Disney movie, when diversity it's actually representative of modern Western countries?
  59. Thread by @DrThalaSiren on Thread Reader App – Thread Reader App
  60. The Little Mermaid trailer flooded with racist YouTube comments and dislikes
  61. "Halle Bailey, Auli'i Cravalho respond to #NotMyAriel backlash from "The Little Mermaid" casting"
  62. Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Caribbean Slavery, and Telling the Truth to Children
  63. Peter Dinklage Calls Disney's 'Snow White' Remake 'Backward'
  64. "Peter Dinklage's Snow White Criticism Draws Ire from Actors with Dwarfism"
  65. Brad Williams Pitches His Fix for Controversial Snow White Remake
  66. Jackass Star Wee Man Lays Into Disney Following Backlash Over Snow White’s Seven Dwarfs Casting
  67. Wee Man Blasts Disney Over Snow White Remake
  68. No, kissing someone while they’re unconscious or otherwise incapacitated is NOT romantic
  69. Questioning inequalities in Snow White & Beauty and the beast.
  70. Snow White sends wrong message to girls about consent
  71. Backlash over Disneyland's Snow White ride's 'kiss without consent'.
  72. Snow White Is In Trouble 😳
  73. Rachel Zegler's Snow White Remake Called 'Disgrace' By Former Disney Employee
  74. Is the Internet Trying To 'Cancel' Snow White?
  75. Disney's queer characters won't hide its funding of real villains, Charles Pulliam-Moore, The Verge 10 March 2022
  76. Disney to pause Florida political donations over a law limiting LGBTQ discussion, Reuters 11 March 2022
  77. Disney’s ‘Lightyear’ smacked with NC16 rating
  78. "DeSantis goes after Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District," Click Orlando
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  82. Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). "Justice Department Approves Disney’s Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks". Variety. Retrieved February 13, 2019. 
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