Have you wondered how in the world The Walt Disney Company, with its unsurpassed reputation for outstanding family entertainment, could come to believe its mission is to lead children to question their gender identity? Or how Disney determined that radically politicizing its image is somehow good for its “most admired company” bottom line?
Hi, I’m Rex Rogers and this is episode #34 of Discerning What Is Best, a podcast applying unchanging biblical principles in a rapidly changing world, and a Christian worldview to current issues and everyday life.
Founded in 1923, the Walt Disney Company is an American institution. Children and adults alike worldwide have enjoyed its entertainment products from cartoons to long-running favorite TV programs to feature films creating some of the most notable film characters in history.
Disney was a family company, launched and operated by brothers Walt and Roy, and developing experiences for family enjoyment on film and in their famous parks, copied but never really equaled.
Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Goofy, Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, and Eyore, Pluto, and many more. The Mickey Mouse Club, Davy Crockett, Swiss Family Robinson, Old Yeller, Mary Poppins, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast. The list of shows and movies and beloved characters are a playback of our lives for the past century.
For the most part, what these productions had in common was their family-friendly content. If not always wholesome, certainly for the major part Disney programming was uplifting, morally suitable, patriotic, respectful, and classic Americana at its best.
But in recent days Disney has taken a hard left turn. What was once trusted family fare is now immorality masquerading as human rights.
For months, Disney incurred “a negative backlash for its choosing to enter the political fray of the Florida parental rights law…(and) Disney elected to spot-weld a same-sex kissing scene into “Lightyear” following the conflict in Florida, during the release.”
This didn’t just happen. It was not a mistake. Disney knew exactly what it was doing. The company followed the entertainment industry in which commercials now regularly feature same-sex couples in intimate arrangements, television programs and films portraying LGBTQ+ sexual relationships, and even comic books presenting characters whose sexuality is a topic in their stories.
Most of this entertainment media promotion of LGBTQ+ relationships is focused upon adults, but what makes Disney’s new emphasis especially egregious is its focus upon children.
Disney “executives recruited the company’s most intersectional employees, including (and these are their words) a “black, queer, and trans person,’ a ‘bi-romantic asexual,’ and ‘the mother of one transgender child and one pansexual child’ and announced ambitious new initiatives—seeking to change everything from gender pronouns at the company’s theme parks to the sexual orientation of background characters in the company’s films.”
“Executive producer Latoya Raveneau laid out Disney’s ideology in blunt terms. She said her team was implementing a ‘not-at-all-secret gay agenda’ and regularly “adding queerness’ to children’s programming.” Another speaker indicated Disney has created a “tracker” to ensure enough trans, asexual, and bisexual characters are created.
“Corporate president Karey Burke said she supported having ‘many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories’ and reaffirmed the company’s pledge to make at least 50 percent of its onscreen characters sexual and racial minorities.” (City Journal).
As noted earlier, the animated film “Lightyear” features a kiss between a same-sex couple. “At least 14 Middle Eastern and Asian nations have refused to release the film, while China has not yet said whether it will allow the movie unless the kissing scene is cut, which so far producers have refused to do.”
“What’s more, Tim Allen was replaced as the voice of Buzz by Chris Evans, who called those objecting to the smooching scene ‘idiots.’”
Meanwhile, “The Walt Disney Co. is the worst-performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the past year. The stock plummeted 31 percent in the last 12 months. Disney has seen its stock drop the most on a percentage basis compared to the other 30 companies that comprise the Dow.”
Disney used to be a place of innocent fun, aspiration, a place where you could wish upon a star and lose yourself in a dreamworld of color and imagination. But no more.
Parents are interested in a safe place for their children, so much so we’ve coined the phrase “safetyism” to indicate just how far young parents are willing to go to isolate their children from any conceivable threat. But Disney is attuned to this trend only insofar as it fits their new woke prime directive.
“Somewhere along the line Disney executives decided family values weren’t cool anymore. While they’ve been slowly purging those trusted values, we’ve grasped at anything good there was left to hold onto. But there is little to hold on to when Disney executives are no longer just purging family values, but aggressively attacking them altogether…They have been ill-advised, bullied, and intimidated into believing abandoning their core mission and alienating their consumer base is the “cool” thing to do.”
Disney’s eagerness to embrace identity politics and to virtue signal its views with moral superiority are writ large. It seems Disney executives believe they know better than parents or the public what’s best for children.
Disney leaders even admit they are trying to groom children. They have yielded to pressure from LGBTQ activists arguing that discussing detailed sexuality with children 5 to 9 years old is somehow a human rights issue.
And what Disney leaders want, like so many in media, is the accolades of their peers, most of whom have long since demonstrated they live by an areligious, amoral, “Do what’s right in your own eyes” worldview.
Disney’s Magical Pride Days and LGBTQ Pride March are other examples of the company’s wholesale embrace of LGBTQ orthodoxy.
“Disney World and Disneyland have decided to ban the use of "gender greetings" within their parks — so the terms "boys and girls" and "ladies and gentlemen" will no longer be uttered by employees on Disney grounds.”
The company suggests that it must thread a needle of extreme political polarization of its staff and its customers. But this is only because it has bought into the idea it must speak on all matters of “diversity, equity, and inclusion” and that all sexual identity matters are civil rights issues. But once a company takes this fork in the road, it is no longer able to please everyone or anyone. Disney would be better off if it adopted the non-political stance most corporations and business tycoons historically observed, including Walt Disney himself.
Disney should “learn from the sports industry and realize American consumers don’t want agendasshoved down their throats, they just want to enjoy a good game and have fun at a park.”
Disney is the highest profile casualty so far in the worldview civil war. The company’s actions and continuing defensiveness aligns it with those who promote a worldview thoroughly at odds with the Judeo-Christian values upon which America was founded and flourished.
Disney is no longer a safe place for your children. It proselytizes for a set of values that are more about a kind of religious fervor for the sexual revolution than politics or civil rights.
In the end, though, it may be good to remind us all that Disney, like politics in general, is downstream of culture. What Disney is becoming, American culture already is.
So, while boycotting Disney films or parks may be a defensible, even a good or wise option for some, this action won’t fix the problem. What we really require is revival in American culture.
And remember, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm.
© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2022