Tweedy: It’s a Woke World After All: How the Walt Disney Company went from Walt to Woke

by Felicia Tweedy

The Walt Disney Company is all over the news because of its public stance against the Florida Legislation signed by Governor DeSantis, falsely titled “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. Things escalated when videos from a Disney corporate meeting called “Reimagine Tomorrow” were leaked to the public. Those videos exposed what many have known for awhile, just how woke the Walt Disney Company has become. 

The headlines and talk lately is about how Disney has finally gone “woke” – but it is not a new thing for Disney. 

Full disclosure, I’m a big Disney fan, former Disney employee and stockholder. I was born and raised in the LA area and grew up going to Disneyland. It’s a park and company that took on larger meaning to me when I lost my father when I was 15 years old. Disneyland was a special place to both of us. 

At the same time, I have been very critical of the Company. The studio that exists now, is not the same one that existed when I was a child, and definitely not the one that existed in the days of Walt Disney. For a long time, Disney lived off its once conservative image – but its early conservative leanings have been gone for quite some time. 

Disney’s first woke political stance, before the term woke existed, turned into a Nation-wide Disney boycott by churches and religious groups. In 1991, Disney introduced “Gay Day” to its US Parks. Gay Day (https://www.gaydaysanaheiminfo.com)    continues on today. It has grown to a weekend long event and take place at most of the Disney Parks – I wouldn’t look for it at their Park in Shanghai, China. 

In my view, events centered around sexuality don’t have a place at a kids amusement park. I’ve been at Disneyland during Gay Day and I’ve seen behavior that I would have a problem with regardless of sexual orientation. I’ve seen groups come in, usually all wearing red shirts (which identify you as gay), that have been partying and smell of alcohol like it’s the gay pride festival in West Hollywood.

I heard a parent complaining about “activity” between two men that was taking place in one of the public restrooms inside of Disneyland. No one wants to say anything because they will be deemed homophobic and would Disney do anything about it?

Events like that, and behavior like that have no place in a kids amusement park.

You will also find rainbow merchandise, which I’ve seen some young kids mistake as just being a pretty rainbow shirt or hat, when it’s their Pride Collection. That collection is not just for adults but includes children’s attire, even rainbow Mickey Mouse plush toys.

The turning point for the Walt Disney Company came in 1995. The still considered “conservative” family entertainment company, joined most of the other large entertainment studios to grant medical benefits to gay couples, albeit one of the last studios to do so. That would be the last time you would see Disney hanging to the back on those issues. 

I respect others lifestyle choices but where I have a problem is when a lifestyle that is the minority, is pushed on others, most importantly children. Like the Florida bill, it’s not about being gay or trans. In my view, and many others, we shouldn’t be talking to young children about sex and gender issues period.  Let kids be kids, and let them deal with complex issues of gender and sexuality when they are older. 

The Walt Disney Company’s liberal agenda isn’t just focused on gay or trans issues. The phrase you will hear constantly from Disney and other entertainment companies – “diversity and inclusion” – is also about race. There was an uproar when it was announced that the classic red head Disney character Ariel, otherwise known as the “Little Mermaid,” would be played by a black actress in the new live action movie. Those who were upset with the casting, because it went against the attributes of a character they know and love, were called racist. I wrote about the issue in 2019 –  (http://politicalvanguard.com/the-little-mermaid-becomes-part-of-our-politically-correct-world-by-felicia-tweedy/)

Another example involves the 1940’s movie “Song of the South” and the Park attraction Splash Mountain that is based on it. The movie has been banned by Disney since the 1990’s. Many efforts to push for its release through the years were denied by Disney. Hypocritically, that ban initially was only for America. Disney was still making money off the film in foreign countries where it was available on home video into the late 1990’s.

The Disney Parks attraction Splash Mountain is based on the animated parts of the movie, which is based on real African folklore passed down through generations of slaves in America. These stories were first written and published in English by American author Joel Chandler Harris in 1881. Disney used Harris’s book as the basis for the movie. Even though the movie takes place after the Civil War, the happy portrayal of “Uncle Remus,”who is a freed slave still living on a plantation, and other “racial stereotypes,” is considered racist by the Disney Studios of today. 

There have been Black activists who have pushed for the release of the film because it’s important to African American history, not just the stories, but the movie saw the lead actor, James Baskett, who played Uncle Remus and sang the Oscar winner for Best Song in 1948  “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” win an honorary Oscar. In doing so, he became the first black male to win an Oscar. Liberal groups like the NAACP disagree and have threatened Disney. As a result, the film will never been let out of the vault.

Splash Mountain, a beloved attraction, which opened in 1989 before Disney discovered the movie was “racist,” will soon be “reimagined.” It will lose its Song of the South theme to be replaced by a theme based on the 2008 movie “Princess and the Frog”. “Princess and the Frog,” while having a black princess, is fictional and the story’s roots go back to the German Brothers Grimm story the “Frog Prince” and a more recent book by another white author E.D. Baker called “The Frog Princess.” That’s right, Disney is replacing a theme based on African folklore, with European Folklore, and says it’s progress. Also, Disney decided in 2020 to remove the song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Da” from theme park music. A song that won an Oscar and was sung by a black man. That is the madness of the woke ideology. 

“Song of the South” isn’t the only example of Disney saying one thing here in America and doing another overseas. It’s actually a theme. Disney preaches woke values while their cruise ships sail to countries where being gay is illegal. They alter their movies to remove any “gay themes” for their release in Russia and China.

They have deals with China that have allowed Disney to put a theme park in China, film in China and release films in China – after they have edited them to fit the strict rules China has. Disney filmed its live action Mulan right next to an area in China where genocide is taking place. Disney was silent on it  until being called out. They even thanked China in the film credits! Latest news, Disney+ streaming service will expand to more Countries which includes 10 countries which punish homosexuality, such as Egypt, Libya and Saudi Arabia. 

They talk about inclusion, in fact, their “reimagine tomorrow” program is supposed “to allow diversity of thought and discussion on the incredibly complex and challenging issues of race and discrimination.” Except there is no diversity at all. If you aren’t liberal, it’s best you stay silent. Conservative employees at the company released an open letter this past month asking the company to stay neutral on politics. They spoke to how they feel threatened in their workplace because they don’t agree with the liberal agenda Disney is promoting. Their conservative employees feel threatened, yet Disney bends over backward for China. How’s that for the moral high ground? 

I’ve only scratched the surface of Disney’s woke history. Another example is the recent redesign of the attraction Jungle Cruise to remove “offensive” imagery of natives. So too is the changing long time Disney dress code and image policies to allow cast members to have visible tattoos and “gender-inclusive” hairstyles. A bisexual voice actress in the movie “Encanto” stated that the LGBTQIA+ (The acronym grows) is the “face of the Disney company today.”

The rejection of the classic fairytales that made Disney because they are are too white and have “gender stereotypes” is yet another. The upcoming live action “Snow White” will feature Latina – I’m supposed to say Latin-X – actress Rachel Zegler. Zegler is to play the character with “skin as white as snow” – but it will be modernized.  Zegler is known for her anti-police and BLM support on Twitter. 

One can only hope the new CEO Bob Chapek will grow a spine. The push back in Florida from the government and people across the US could have serious ramifications for a company coming off a COVID shutdown that lost them billions. 

Regardless of any shift in direction, the studio Walt Disney created is gone. Walt, who was a patriot, conservative and creative at the same time, represented traditional values but didn’t let politics get in the middle of what he built. I worry that it won’t be long before the woke types at Disney cancel their own founder, all to appease the woke mob.  

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