Insider: Disney 'rotting from the inside for quite some time'

Citing internal communications, a member of Disney’s “Imagineering” team of creative talent wrote under a pseudonym for the independent publisher Quillette that the iconic entertainment giant has been “rotting from the inside for quite some time.”

Disney’s fierce opposition to a Florida parental rights law barring any discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools through the third grade is merely “the last straw,” wrote the employee under the pen name Ethan L. Clay.

Earlier this week, as WND reported, a Disney producer acknowledged in a virtual leadership meeting called to react to the Florida law that her team has implemented her “not-at-all-secret gay agenda.”

Latoya Raveneau said she and her colleagues are regularly “adding queerness” to children’s programming. During the same meeting, Disney corporate president Kathy Burke said that “as the mother [of] one transgender child and one pansexual child,” she supports having “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories.” She said she wants a minimum of 50% of characters to be LGBTQIA and racial minorities.

In his article, the Disney Imagineer pointed out that since Disneyland opened in 1955, the company’s employees have been required to abide by “Four Keys” to success, Safety, Courtesy, Show and Efficiency.

“The sexual revolution, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, and Malcom X, the Cold War, stagflation, the Stonewall Riots, Watergate, Roe v Wade, the space race, the Los Angeles riots, September 11th, Hurricane Katrina—every major event that took place in American society since Disneyland first opened its gates in 1955 rolled by and the Four Keys remained unaltered,” he wrote.

But in April 2021, the Fifth Key of Inclusion was added.

“Why now? Why at all?” Clay asked.

“The short answer is institutional capture, a term that once belonged to economic theory as regulatory capture,” he said.

Regulatory capture, Clay explained, happens when a regulatory agency becomes corrupt and serves the interests of the entities it is supposed to regulate instead of the people.

“In business institutions, the process is much the same, only the goal is not to change a regulatory policy, but to turn the business itself into a mouthpiece for an ideology,” he said.

“Disney has been rotting from the inside for quite some time, but the speed with which its public transformation took place is truly breathtaking. Florida was the final straw.”

Clay cited Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s statement to “fellow colleagues” and “especially our LGBTQ+ community” on March 11.

Chapek thanked those who had shared with him their “pain, frustration and sadness over the company’s response to the Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”

“Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was. It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights,” Chapek wrote

Clay explained why the leadership of Disney, “a company famous for family-friendly content which finds broad reception in nearly every country in the world,” ended up “taking a side in such a heated political battleground.”

In less than two weeks in early March, he said, Disney “moved from principled neutrality to open advocacy.”

“This new messaging, intended to mollify the company’s internal critics, accelerated Disney’s meltdown instead,” Clay wrote.

“‘Brave Space Conversations’ are now held at regular intervals – an absurd euphemism for struggle sessions designed to allow activists to vent their frustrations while drowning out dissenting voices. All regularly scheduled company meetings are cancelled to make room for these meetings, and park leadership opens the floor to hours-long performative recitations of grievances by hand-picked cast members.”

The meetings, he added, “conclude with grandiose statements about inclusion and fairness and understanding pain and listening, but not a single nonconforming viewpoint is heard, either from those who support the bill or those who think Disney has no business getting involved in this dispute in the first place.”

Clay pointed out that the company’s website promises “inclusion” and “fairness” are values “for everyone.”

But in reality, they apply only to “historically oppressed groups.”

“The only pain worth understanding is that felt by the subsection of LGBT cast members who believe that sex education ought to begin in kindergarten,” he wrote.

“Listening and seeing is restricted to the approved narratives, and even excludes those LGBT cast members who support the Florida legislation. I know many of them personally, and nearly without exception, they are all parents.”

He found it astonishing that a “family-friendly” company “would oppose the perfectly reasonable view that sexual topics are not appropriate for six-year-olds in a public school setting.”

CEO Chapek’s March 11 email, he wrote, contained these ominous words: “Starting immediately, we are increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states. We are hard at work creating a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values.”

Clay concluded that “time will tell whether or not Imagineering, and the Disney brand overall, can survive this internal revolution.”

“But current trends are not encouraging.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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Content created by the WND News Center is available for re-publication without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@wndnewscenter.org.