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Betrayed By the Magic Kingdom

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/John Raoux, File

I grew up with The Wonderful World of Disney. Every Sunday night at 7 PM (while the boring grown-ups watched "60 Minutes"), I could watch a Disney show. 

And I was totally unsupervised. My parents didn't need to sit in the room with me to ensure that the programming was appropriate for a four or five-year-old. My parents trusted Disney. They trusted that Disney would stay true to its promise to protect the innocence of children or never violate the sacred domain that a parent holds over their children's education and moral direction. 


Disney was supposed to be the last remaining place (virtually and literally) where fundamental norms were reinforced or, at the very least, they would not be infringed or completely undermined. 

Those days are, apparently, over. 

Now, I'm not naive. I know that we've experienced the proverbial "boiling frog" syndrome when it comes to Disney and the "slow creep" of subversive content over the last several decades. But this week, the "House that Walt Built" has crossed a Rubicon, of sorts that may tarnish the formidable brand forever. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced he would be fighting Florida's perfectly reasonable Parental Rights in Education law that Governor Ron DeSantis just signed this week. Disney's statement is revealing in how it tells its customers exactly what its priorities are: 

“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law. Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”

The most telling part of this statement is: "We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country." It's notable that it tells all of us, parents and children alike, that Disney's priority is to stand up for a specific interest group that it has chosen as the correct and exclusive beneficiaries of its attention and concern. 


Also revealing is what is missing in this statement. There is no mention of children. No mention of the "rights and safety of children" who were once the focus of attention and concern for the stalwart, family-friendly company. 

Message received. 

Disney has decided that our parental rights and concerns are secondary to its employees, who find it paramount to have six-year-olds exposed to whatever sexual discussion the LGBTQ+ activists decide. 

It's even more resoundingly clear after the blockbuster internal video obtained by journalist Chris Rufo broke the Internet Tuesday night. 

Just watch the videos for yourself and realize that even an announcement at its theme parks that begins with "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls" is now seen as hateful and bigoted and has been erased from the Disney lexicon. 

Disney has thrown away its hard-fought reputation as a safe harbor for families who want to have confidence that their children will be entertained and amused without worldly intrusions that may infringe on parents' values and priorities. This is not the kind of reputation that comes easy, and after decades of nurturing and attention as the gold standard for family-friendly entertainment, Disney is now more than happy to turn its back on those of us who have invested thousands of hours and thousands of dollars in Mickey, Minnie and the gang. 


If Disney doesn't reverse course and do some serious damage control, this will soon be seen as one of the most disastrous brand disintegrations in American corporate history. 

The folks who gave you "New Coke" are chuckling to themselves right now.

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