Parents to Disney: we’re breaking up – it’s not us, it’s you

Once upon a time, the magical world of Disney was a refuge for parents, a reliable friend who entertained children and taught a few life lessons, not to be confused with the sometimes-disturbing forays into sex education that today masquerade as a plot line. Forget those happy little songs, heroes, heroines and talking animals, the House of Mouse decided dark, edgy and troubled was just what children needed because every parent wants to explain that monsters aren’t under your bed … they’re making “entertainment.”  

For too long, Disney and its partners in crimes against a legacy, refused to respect the world Walt Disney built. In fact, today’s Disney even knocked the girly out of Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan magazine, where they blushed about the “21 Completely Filthy Hidden Sex References in Disney Movies.”  

And parents noticed.  

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In 2023, “Disney loses spot as Hollywood’s top-grossing studio” as seven of eight releases were worldwide stinkers. In 2024, people started paying the high price of hubris. Pixar, part of the Disney world of woe, recently announced layoffs of about 14% of their workforce, following other layoffs last year, perhaps because they lost more than $600 million.    

From parents to Disney about the breakup; it’s not us, it’s you.  

Consider that, for Walt Disney, diversity meant imagination and storytelling. He once said, “By nature I’m an experimenter. To this day, I don’t believe in sequels. I can’t follow popular cycles. I have to move on to new things. So with the success of Mickey, I was determined to diversify.” 

One can imagine him rolling in his proverbial grave as the weak and woke rolled out sequels with all the creativity and predictability of a women’s studies lecture at Berkeley.  

That kind of thinking basically killed the “Snow White” makeover before we even got to the apple. At Slate, “actress” Rachel Zegler flacked for a “progressive makeover” and “criticizes the original for ‘very evidently’ being a product of the 1930s.” “There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her,” she says … (saying the film is) “really not about the love story at all,’ a change she deems ‘wonderful.’ Instead, it’s about Snow White’s ‘inner journey’ to ‘find her true self.’” 

One might think that a financial meltdown of that magnitude would encourage a shift in messaging. But math doesn’t seem Disney’s strong suit.  

Disney executives, unmasked calling for more sexual themes in children’s content, seemed proud of themselves. They pledged that “50 percent of regular and recurring characters across the Disney universe will come from ‘underrepresented groups.’”  

I wonder if they included functional families and people of faith among those not seen and not heard. Nobody is more invisible in modern entertainment than a loving father and mother overcoming obstacles and working together on behalf of their children.  

Walt Disney once said, “A man should never neglect his family for business.” Imagine if a man said that today … Can I get an Amen, Harrison Butker?  

How would Disney even do a remake of the 1960 film “Swiss Family Robinson” – White colonists taking over an island and forcing prayer at meals?  

What was Walt thinking in making those “classics” mocking the intellect of “Dumbo,” allowing hunting scenes in “Bambi,” or celebrating a wedding in “The Story of Robin Hood” between opposite-sex characters of the same species? Shocking.  

Of course, Disney staff proclaimed themselves self-aware of their suspect history — providing trigger warnings for classics. If only that kind of disclosure was available in more modern programming.  

Parents today have to warn their children about Disney’s new content, like cautions about accepting candy from a stranger. The packaging is pretty, but you can’t trust what’s in it or who gave it to you. 

Much has been written about Disney’s war with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a loss for them that cost the corporations millions as they blew up the sweetest tax deal for the once most magical place on earth.  

But it wasn’t necessarily the safe space some claimed. In 2014, a six-month investigation led to many arrests of alleged sex offenders at Disney-controlled parks. More recently, Disney was implicated in a lawsuit addressing the crimes of convicted sex abuser Harvey Weinstein.   

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And also disturbing was a mention of Disney in the shocking “Quiet on Set” four-part docuseries about the alleged abuse of ex-Nickelodeon child stars. Vox reports that a convicted sex offender was hired to do voice over work on the Disney show the “Suite Life of Zack and Cody” – after he got out of prison.  

But darkness isn’t only found in documentaries. There is something kind of pathetic about the words of a snowman in “Frozen 2” who said, “Advancing technologies will be both our savior and our doom.”  

Wow. Amazon’s post-apocalyptic “Fallout is more upbeat as the plucky heroine keeps believing in a better world.  

No hope, no future … and no audience for today’s Disney.  

It’s hard not to be nostalgic for the ethos of the original Disney, who said, “To the youngsters of today, I say believe in the future, the world is getting better; there still is plenty of opportunity.” 

That’s a good word for the people getting fired following Disney’s meltdown. Tell a great story and win the hearts of the world. I’ll buy a ticket.   

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