I’m sorry, parents, but if you thought Disney was troublingly “woke” already, it seems that you should prepare yourselves for much, much worse to come.
A few days ago, recordings were leaked from a recent company-wide Zoom call held partly in response to the passage of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law. The contents are grim.
During the call, executive producer Latoya Raveneau boasted about the company’s “not-at-all-secret gay agenda,” which involves systematically “adding queerness” to children’s movies and shows. Another staff member admitted that the company has a “tracker” to make sure the company highlights enough “gender-nonconforming” and “canonical trans” characters.
Disney’s “Inclusion Manager,” Vivian Ware, spoke about how the children’s entertainment company is working towards erasing all gender references in its Disneyland theme park. According to Ware, guests to the parks will no longer be greeted with greetings saying “ladies and gentleman, boys and girls.” Instead, both live events and recorded messages will use phrases like “hello, everyone” or “dreamers of all ages.”
“[W]e don’t want to just assume because someone might be, in our interpretation, may be presenting as female, that they may not want to be called ‘princess,’” said Ware.
Meanwhile, Karey Burke, president of Disney’s General Entertainment Content, said that the company has vowed to hugely increase the “representation” of LGBT characters in its movies and TV shows. “I’m here as a mother of two queer children, actually,” Burke said on the call. “One transgender child and one pansexual child, and also as a leader.”
Burke said that while Disney already has “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters,” she recently realized that there are not enough “leads” or enough “narratives in which gay characters just get to be characters.”
Burke suggested that the passage of the Florida law had galvanized her to take a stronger stand and urged others working for Disney to ensure that “we just don’t allow each other to go backwards.” In other words: don’t allow Disney to go back to creating family-friendly entertainment that lacks an overt progressive social agenda.
Disney’s ‘Woke’ Makeover
The only thing more disheartening than Disney’s backlash against the Florida law, is the disproportion between the ferocity of that backlash, and the common-sense nature of the law.
The Parental Rights in Education law simply states that children in kindergarten through grade three should not be given classroom instruction on topics such as sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill also requires that parents be informed about changes in services related to their child’s physical or psychological health.
Progressive activists have dubbed the law the “don’t say gay” law, falsely claiming that it bans the word “gay” from the classroom.
The passage of the law comes at a time when sexual revolutionaries are openly and unapologetically targeting children with propaganda, often without their parents’ knowledge or consent. This is having a real and devastating impact on children. Take the recent case of the fourth grade teacher in Texas, who claims that 20 out of her 32 students have “come out” as “LGBTQIA+.”
The Florida law is nothing more than an expression of the normal and healthy parental desire to protect the innocence of children during their most formative years – a desire that Disney should sympathize with.
Instead, after an initial period of silence during debate over the bill, Disney has now come out swinging, galvanized by the immense pressure placed upon it by progressive activists both within and without the company.
A few days ago, the company put out a strongly worded statement saying that the law “should never have passed.” “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
Meanwhile, conservative employees within Disney are describing a rapid culture shift that is leaving them feeling alienated and pressured to conform. One “imagineer” wrote in Quillette that, “In less than two weeks’ time, the company had moved from principled neutrality to open advocacy.”
The employee described an explosion in meetings in which progressive employees vent their grievances “while drowning out dissenting voices.” Despite all the talk about “inclusion,” the employee noted, the only people who are included are the “LGBT cast members who believe that sex education ought to begin in kindergarten.”
A few weeks ago, an anonymous group of Disney employees published an open letter, making many of the same points, highlighting a culture change that is pushing them to the fringes. “The Walt Disney Company has come to be an increasingly uncomfortable place to work for those of us whose political and religious views are not explicitly progressive,” they wrote. “We watch quietly as our beliefs come under attack from our own employer, and we frequently see those who share our opinions condemned as villains by our own leadership.”
Much has been made of our internal efforts to Reimagine Tomorrow, but as much as diversity and inclusion are promoted, the tomorrow being reimagined doesn’t seem to have much room for religious or political conservatives within the company. Left-leaning cast members are free to promote their agenda and organize on company time using company resources. They call their fellow employees “bigots” and pressure TWDC [The Walt Disney Company] to use corporate influence to further their left-wing legislative goals.
Meanwhile, those of us who don’t align with this vision keep our heads down and do our work without bringing our personal beliefs into the workplace. We’ve done this without complaint because we don’t want to rock the boat, but the boat is being rocked, and our leadership seems compelled to reward those who are rocking it.
Gov. DeSantis Stands Strong
Despite Disney’s decision to launch all-out war against the Parental Rights in Education law, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is standing strong. The governor signed the law last Monday. Then, in a media conference on Tuesday, he accused Disney of having “crossed the line.”
“This state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida,” he said. “It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives – they do not run this state, they do not control this state.”
“For them to say they’re going to actively work to repeal substantive protections for parents as a company that is supposedly marketing its services to parents with young children – I think they crossed the line.”
Clearly, the governor knows that while the woke capitalists, activists, and entertainers urging Disney to use their clout to fight the law have money and power on their side, he has grassroots citizens and parents on his.
The three actresses who stood up on the stage at the Oscars the other night, and childishly chanted the word “gay” over and over in “protest” against the Florida law may be rich and powerful. But they shouldn’t be taken seriously. Indeed, this year’s barely-watched Oscars, with its stream of politically correct commentary and childish antics by Hollywood stars, is just further evidence of the growing gulf between a small set of rich, powerful, and ideologically extreme “elite,” and ordinary citizens who are increasingly worried about the bizarre brave new world they see emerging around them.
My only fear is that, despite the growing backlash from many parents and citizens, this elite will continue to succeed in pushing the needle of our culture further and further towards wokeness and away from moral sanity, unless something dramatic changes.
So far, Disney has pursued their woke agenda incrementally, one small step at a time, gradually desensitizing parents to ever more troubling characters and storylines. However, given the leaked recordings from the Zoom call, and the company’s decision to oppose the Florida law, it seems that we can expect things to speed up in coming months and years. A few days ago, the company announced that they would be restoring a same-sex kiss scene to the upcoming movie “Lightyear,” about the beloved character Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story.
The question for parents is: when will we agree with Gov. DeSantis that Disney has “crossed the line?” Until Disney feels the consequences of their decision to use children’s entertainment as a Trojan Horse to push immorality in their pocketbook, they will continue to push the boundaries.
As the anonymous Disney employees wrote in that open letter, “[A]s this politicization makes its way into our content and public messaging, our more conservative customers will feel similarly unwanted. You can only preach at or vilify your audience for so long before they decide to spend their money elsewhere.”
Over the decades, Disney has produced some of the most memorable children’s movies ever made. Quoting those anonymous employees again,
Disney shouldn’t be a vehicle for one demographic’s political activism. It’s so much bigger and more important than that. More than ever, the world needs things that we can unite around. That’s the most valuable role The Walt Disney Company could play in the world at this time. It’s a role we’ve played for nearly a century, and it would be a shame to throw all of that away in the face of left-wing political pressure. Please don’t let Disney become just another thing we divide over.
Amen to that. For Disney’s sake, and for the sake of our children, we have to send them an unmistakable message that progressive, woke politics does not belong in our children’s entertainment. It’s time to cancel those subscriptions and write a letter to Disney’s management explaining why you can no longer support a company that is actively working to steal the innocence of your children and undermine your rights as parents.