The house of mouse is in a soup! For years Disney has built its brand on the ‘family-friendly’ image. The company has become a behemoth in past decades based on its movies and theme parks. In its long tenure, the giant has also acquired many studios, Marvel being the crown jewel. So while a business makes its own good and bad decisions Disney is head deep with all the controversies going around.
On one side the production house is facing the Parental Television Council, on the other, they have to deal with a prominent actor’s outrage. If that doesn’t suffice, they have a “Don’t Say Gay’ bill to respond to and to make it even worse, Pixar has come forward with a statement. And Disney is held answerable!
The Parental Television Council thinks Disney will be destroyed.
When someone said, “you cannot keep everyone happy” they were probably referring to Disney. On one side are the Marvel fans who are overjoyed and looking forward to welcoming the Netflix Marvel TV shows to Disney. But, then there’s a part of fans that is really disturbed about that fact.
The members of the Parental Television Council (PTC) have a lot of issues with these shows coming to Disney. They feel the adult-themed shows coming on the platform would “destroy” the Disney brand. The President of Parents Television and Media Council, Tim Winter, said, “For more than 98 years, the Walt Disney Company has been synonymous with the words Family Friendly, and I can think of no other corporation in American history that has been built more squarely on the backs – and on the wallets – of parents and families.”
Winter’s harsh remark only rings the truth. He further said, “The company’s eponymous platform Disney Plus logically marketed itself as a family-friendly streaming service, and parents have placed their trust in Disney to deliver just that.”
Although Disney is moving to bring updated parental policy, PTC still feels that shows like Daredevil and Jessica Jones will “tarnish its family-friendly crown.” According to the new parental policy, parents will be able to control what their children can see, so in a way, Disney+ will continue the way it operates.
Peter Dinklage slams Disney
Keeping aside the concerns being raised by PTC, another dispute has been bothering Disney for a long time now. Disney’s live-action “Snow White” which is expected to begin production this year has received a lot of criticism from Emmy award-winning actor, Peter Dinklage.
In the podcast, WTF with Marc Maron Podcast Dinklage revealed what he thinks about the Snow White remake. He went on to say that he is shocked to see that Disney is celebrating on revisiting the story that had thorny dwarf representation.
“Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. You’re progressive in one way but then you’re still making that fucking backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the fuck are you doing, man?”
It is safe to say, no other company has been more successful in rehashing its own content. One only needs to look at titles like Cinderella, Lion King and Jungle Book and think how many iterations you have seen since your own childhood and stories never change even if the time does.
Snow White remake is consulting with the dwarf community
Although a spokesperson from Disney has told Variety that they are consulting with the dwarfism community’s members and they will share more details as the film proceeds for ‘production after a lengthy development period’. The spokesperson said, “To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community.”
The remake will be an extension to the 1937 Disney animated classic, Snow White and will be directed by Amazing Spider-Man’s director, Marc Webb. The cast will include Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen.
Bob Chapek kept mum on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill
It would have been okay if Disney would have been facing just two wrangles. There’s another controversy too or if we say as Wired describes it, it’s “Disney’s hypocrisy”.
Recently, when the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was passed in Florida’s Republican-dominated legislature, a huge wave of discontent ran among masses, which included LGBTQ advocates, students, national Democrats, and the entertainment industry.
So, it became a hugely controversial topic when Walt Disney Co.’s CEO Bob Chapek was all silent on the matter and didn’t give any statement. Later, when he came forth, he gave his statement in the internal channels, saying though he and the leadership team stands with the LGBTQ community and employees, the company won’t make a public statement.
“As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds. Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change.”
Walt Disney Co.’s CEO apologizes after the backlash
There came an obvious backlash from a lot of employees and they took on social media to share their mindset. Not just employees, Walt Disney’s grandniece, Abigail Disney also made a strict statement, talking about Chapek’s memo and its values.
“The times for neutrality are long since over. What is Disney for? Is it for pretending what America is about, or is it for defining a vision for a world in which fantasy, love, kindness, decency, and loyalty are bedrock values? Nothing about the ‘don’t say gay’ bill or about Chapek’s memo is consistent with any of those values.”
After a huge backlash, probably reality hit hard and Chapek said that instead of working on the frontlines they are trying to work with the “lawmakers on both sides of the aisle” to make the process more effective. “I know that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill. We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes, engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
“We were hopeful that our long-standing relationships with those lawmakers would enable us to achieve a better outcome, but despite weeks of effort we were ultimately unsuccessful.”
Pixar employees accuse their parent company
The reign of controversy doesn’t here, in fact, it gets escalated a little more. Disney’s subsidiary and the animation giant, Pixar has accused its parent company of Disney of cutting LGBTQ+ content at the time of editing.
A letter shared signed by “the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar & their allies” states that the corporate heads at Disney do not let the scenes showing affection between gay couples on the screen.
“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were. Nearly every moment of overtly gay affection is cut at Disney’s behest … Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
A lot is falling around Disney right now. They are undoubtedly trying to do their best but as of now, there’s no silver lining. Let’s see how Disney deals with all the backlash and what the future of the company holds.