Disney death wish?
Few brands are more valuable than that owned by the shareholders of The Walt Disney Company, one that now is being shattered. In 2020, Forbes rated it as number seven in the world in value. But I think this may actually understate the standing of the Disney brand. Few people would want to take a vacation at a Google resort or take a Microsoft cruise, but the allure of Disney's brand is enough to attract vacationers from all over the world. Disney theme parks exist in the United States (2), France, China (2), and Japan, and these attract visitors from many other countries, many bringing their children along, others seeking to recapture the joys of their childhood.
The essence of the Disney brand has been wholesomeness and the innocence of children, embodied in the smiling, ever-cheerful persona of Mickey Mouse, whose figure appears on Page One of its annual report.
However, any association of Disney with wholesomeness and innocence was shattered by the excerpts from a company Zoom meeting obtained by journalist Christopher Rufo and published on Twitter. In case you haven't seen them:
SCOOP: I've obtained video from inside Disney's all-hands meeting about the Florida parental rights bill, in which executive producer Latoya Raveneau says her team has implemented a "not-at-all-secret gay agenda" and is regularly "adding queerness" to children's programming. pic.twitter.com/eJnZMpKIXT— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 29, 2022
SCOOP: Disney corporate president Karey Burke says, "as the mother [of] one transgender child and one pansexual child," she supports having "many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories" and wants a minimum of 50 percent of characters to be LGBTQIA and racial minorities. pic.twitter.com/oFRUiuu9JG— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 29, 2022
SCOOP: Disney diversity and inclusion manager Vivian Ware says the company has eliminated all mentions of "ladies," "gentlemen," "boys," and "girls" in its theme parks in order to create "that magical moment" for children who do not identify with traditional gender roles. pic.twitter.com/OWsGTUoeCA— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 29, 2022
SCOOP: Disney production coordinator Allen March says his team is committed to "exploring queer stories" and has created a "tracker" to make sure they are creating enough "gender nonconforming characters," "canonical trans characters," and "canonical bisexual characters." pic.twitter.com/ddSzw4aqQv— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 29, 2022
While there no doubt are some parents like Disney corporate president Karey Burke, who are proud to have "queer," or transgender, or pansexual children, and who see exposure to these concepts in early childhood as enlightened, I am reasonably sure that a very substantial majority of American and French parents, and even larger shares of Chinese and Japanese parents, see the inclusion of such characters in their children's screen viewing as akin to grooming, and something to be shunned.
Now that responsible executives at Disney have announced they will be inserting such content into their programming, boycott movements are already forming. And news of this commitment is certain to spread beyond the boundaries of Twitter, conservative media, and the United States.
While Disney has 190,000 employees worldwide, including many operations such as ABC, ESPN, Fox Studios, and the National Geographic Channel, there is a disturbing frequency with which employees in operations geared toward children have been arrested on sex crime charges:
How about you stand up for the rights and safety of your most vulnerable demographic and vet your employees better first and foremost? Seems to be a reoccurring problem with your company… pic.twitter.com/wlbkmmKM3J— Five Times August (@FiveTimesAugust) March 28, 2022
I think executives of Disney have made a colossal blunder embracing the sexualization of young children. As a Facebook friend put it recently, referring to the company's stock: "Short the mouse."