If you’re reading this, Disney probably hates you and wishes you either silenced or destroyed.
That’s not hyperbole. It’s the only coherent way to interpret the comments of Bob Chapek, the new CEO of the Walt Disney Company, at its virtual annual shareholder meeting on March 9.
A little background: Pedro Pascal, an actor in the Disney+ show The Mandalorian, posted a tweet in 2018 comparing Trump’s America to Nazi Germany, and another in 2020 comparing Trump supporters to Nazis. Pascal remains on the show.
Gina Carano, on the other hand, posted a tweet in 2021 warning that the left’s stirring up hate and cancellation fever against us on the right could lead down a path that ends with Nazi-like atrocities. So, then, a more measured, more thoughtful invocation of the Nazi past than Pascal’s.
Carano was fired within days.
The organization I work for, the National Center for Public Policy Research, “attended” this virtual meeting, at which my colleague David Almasi put this question to the CEO:
It’s clear there’s a new blacklist punishing conservatives in the entertainment industry. Disney+ actors Pedro Pascal and Gina Carano tweeted similar analogies of current political events to Nazi Germany, yet only Carano – who is considered conservative – was fired from ‘The Mandalorian.’ Disney and the blacklist: This is the way?
Chapek’s response to the question is so astonishing that I will reproduce it in full.
Well, thank you for your question. Uh, I don’t really see Disney as characterizing itself as left-leaning or right-leaning, yet instead, standing for values. Values that are universal. Values of respect, values of decency, values of integrity and values of inclusion. And we seek to have not only how we operate but the content that we make reflective of the rich diversity of the world that we live in. Um, and I think that’s a world that we should all live in in harmony and peace.
The universal values Chapek refers to cannot be forbidding people to bring Nazis into American political debate for the sake of decorum or sensitivity, since Pascal retains his job. (Consider also that leaders of the NAACP have been comparing Republicans to Nazis for decades, but Disney responded to the protests – and riots – of 2020 by giving the NAACP $2 million. So Nazi comparisons themselves don’t bother Disney.)
Rather, the distinction between Pascal’s postings and Carano’s – other than the additional thoughtfulness of Carano’s – is that Carano criticized the left, while Pascal criticized the right. So, by fairly elementary process of elimination, Chapek’s idea of “universal values” has to be that conservatives must remain silent and must not criticize the left, and if they dare to, they must have their careers destroyed to create “a world that we [can] all live in in harmony and peace.”
I defy you to make any other interpretation of his statement.
Somebody needs to tell Chapek that when Tacitus wrote of Augustus’ wars against the German tribes, “solitudinem fecerunt, pacem appelunt” (“they made a wasteland and called it peace”), he was making a critique, not a recommendation.
And to get on it, considering additional chilling evidence of Disney’s understanding of “universal values” and a world of harmony and peace: Disney filmed Mulan in Xinjiang, China, near the concentration camps where the Uyghur minority is being systemically abused. Instead of protesting, or relocating – the filmmakers simply thanked the provincial government for the privilege.
Disney has imagineered its way from being the land where dreams are made into the fallow fields of dystopian nightmare.
The question for all of us becomes what to do. I know I won’t give Disney a dollar as a consumer until it mends its ways – publicly and apologetically. I’d certainly advise everyone else to do likewise. But the Disney archives are filled with reels and reels of really wonderful productions, which we should be able to access without having to consort with Disney’s current evil, and that we need to protect from disappearing forever down the woke hole. And the company’s copyright extends to franchises that it should not be allowed to destroy forever by subserving them to that malevolent ideology.
So, perhaps somewhat counterintuitively, a request: buy Disney stock. And then join us in putting as much pressure as possible on Disney to mend its ways. We need to save the House of Mouse from the dark army of occupation that has taken over its C-suite.
That’s not as hard as you might think. You can buy shares directly from Disney here, or through investment firms like the now-(in?)famous Robinhood site. And once you own stock, the company will send you information about how to attend shareholder meetings and ask questions like the ones we put to company CEOs dozens of times a year. During these virtual days, that process is as easy as logging into the meetings – the drawback being that many companies go to great lengths to avoid questions that they haven’t pre-scripted themselves.
Once the world opens up again – very soon, please! – attending a shareholder meeting should once again involve travel, but for a plane ticket or some gas and a night in a hotel you can go to the meeting and make a CEO of a company that actively discriminates against those of us on the right explain themselves.
As I mentioned, we at the Free Enterprise Project attend dozens of meetings a year, but we’re just about alone on our side, while the left floods the meetings with their representatives, making the companies think that absurd “progressive” demands must be appeased. And even as lone warriors we make a difference, as at Disney, and at Apple, and at AT&T. With some compeers, we could really start pushing corporations back toward respecting all viewpoints – or at least not discriminating so actively.
We could very much use some allies. I hope you’ll consider buying some Disney stock, or the stock of some of the other worst-offender corporations, and joining us in bringing these moral monsters to account.