‘Institutional Capture’ At Disney
In less than two weeks’ time, the company had moved from principled neutrality to open advocacy. This new messaging, intended to mollify the company’s internal critics, accelerated Disney’s meltdown instead. “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. They 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.
“At Disney,” the company’s website promises, “inclusion is for everyone. We reimagine tomorrow as our way of amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories as well as championing the importance of accurate representation in media and entertainment.” But, as usual, “inclusion” only protects those who think like DEI activists. “Fairness” only applies to historically oppressed people 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. 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.
The writer says that there are very many Disney employees who don’t agree with the activists, but they have been intimidated into silence by the aggressively work minority. More:
For a company that claims to listen to the voices of their cast members, the Disney corporation has spent the last couple years ignoring vast swathes of its own workforce. In recent months, they have gone further, actively supporting one group while actively suppressing or simply ignoring the other. We have changed our core ethos, and our storytelling has suffered under the litmus tests required by DEI requirements. I have been personally involved in no less than five projects that had their creative visions dimmed by the dictates of profoundly uncreative DEI functionaries: Replace that Christmas song, it’s too Christian. Don’t “culturally appropriate” that visual design, we don’t have a member of that ethnicity on the project team. Send this script to a “sensitivity reader,” the voice is too male. Remove “ladies and gentleman, boys and girls” from all park announcements, it reinforces the gender binary.
Time will tell whether or not Imagineering, and the Disney brand overall, can survive this internal revolution. But current trends are not encouraging. Some of us throw sand in the gears of the DEI machine when we can and produce the same exceptional experiences we always have. The capture is thorough, but Disney has survived periods of darkness before. I encourage everyone to ignore the bloviating of Disney executive leadership, from CEO Bob Chapek all the way down to park VPs. These people are not thought-leaders or cultural revolutionaries. They are cowards held hostage by the prevailing narrative, and they will run in whichever direction that narrative dictates. They do not represent the members of the Disney parks and resorts division. We are as diverse as the country itself, and the company’s attempts to use us as a bloc to push their political agenda is intolerant, exploitative, and profoundly un-Disney.
This controversy is a major turning point in the culture war. The broader question is whether or not Disney, a company whose influence over the culture (via its influence over the moral imaginations of the young) is without parallel, is willing to serve the majority of people who just want to enjoy life without every damn thing being compelled to serve a narrow woke agenda, or if it will capitulate to these cultural terrorists.
The decision lies with the Disney leadership. But it also lies with the tens of millions of families who are customers of the Walt Disney Company. Disney is led by a pack of unprincipled cowards. Are the rest of us willing to make them pay a price? We know from the internal videos leaked by whistleblowers within Disney that the company has given free rein of the woke activists to insert woke cultural messaging into children’s programming. Does this not piss you off? If it does, what are you prepared to do about it?
If nothing, then they win. They, and their media allies, get our kids. The writer says that older gay Disney employees who have kids agree that it’s not right to subject little children to sex education in public schools. Do you agree? If so, then you cannot sit back passively and let Disney get away with this.
It’s amazing how every single argument for gay rights circa 2000-2010 has gone out the window.
“How does it affect you?”
“Why do you care what consenting adults do?”
“People just want to be left alone.”
You’d have to be stupid to still take what activists say at face value.
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) March 30, 2022
Try to imagine if in 2005, Pat Robertson told his followers that soon kids would be calling themselves ze and xir and zonk and this would be taught in public schools. It would’ve been too much for the 700 Club, they probably would’ve forcibly retired him.
— Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) March 30, 2022
Imagine Pat Robertson in 2005 telling his viewers that Disney was soon going to start embedding pro-gay, pro-transgender messaging in children’s programming. They would have hauled him off to the looney bin. But now Disney senior executives not only admit doing so, they brag about it!