I started this blog back in early 2018 as an outlet for my obsession with Disney. From 2012 to 2017, I had co-hosted What’s the Attraction?, a super-indy series with my bud SurferClock reviewing theme park rides in Florida. I missed gushing about Disney factoids and minutiae, and working at the parks usually meant I couldn’t be brutally honest with guests if something was subpar. My intent had always been to look at Disney inside and out, warts and all. Not only do the stories get more interesting, but you can learn from the past. So with no formal training and my only real experience was watching video essays off YouTube, I downloaded the WordPress app onto my phone and began writing.
At first I stuck mostly to simple movie reviews, but it wasn’t long before I started doing commentary articles. Those were fun because they let me say anything. And as a guy with a complicated view of Disney (I’m an ardent leftist who likes Song of the South. Go figure), I feel more and more inclined to try what all writers want: to say something. Something important, meaningful, and toward a greater good. Lately, I’ve been actively tuned in to the Don’t Say Gay drama and wrote a bunch of pieces about it. And I’ve written a couple of rebuttals on op-eds from regular people who are so nonplussed that Disney DARES to try to adapt in an ever-changing world. They were very, very silly, accusing Disney of being political and uncaring of the masses.
But again, those two were op-eds. Written by regular conservative people. Which is why this next piece is hysterically in poor taste: despite his title as “Commentary Fellow”, author Zachary Faria has written this article for The Washington Examiner, a conservative news outlet. It puts on the pretense that it’s a legitimate news source (Save for a few biting words to indicate snark, which I’ll get to shortly), complete with polls to cite its claims. Now it’s no secret that I cite sources when I write my articles, but I NEVER put on airs to pretend to be a journalist. I am a leftist, and I have biases, but you’ll never see my stuff on The Daily Beast or The Huffington Post looking like a news story. Even if I got hired by them, I’d walk out the moment my words were used as news instead of opinion.
I might have heard of The Washington Examiner before writing this, but I got a pretty clear view where their own bias laid when you see articles like “How Much Has Earth Day Cost Us?”. And these guys want to weigh in on the Don’t Say Gay ordeal? Well, pass me a cup of mocha and let’s take a look at this!
The gay and transgender activists who hounded Disney into weighing in on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act have been shown to be a vocal minority in poll after poll. Now, Disney’s embrace of them is reflecting on the company.
Okay, off to a good start. Factual statements here. Sort of. “Hounded” is certainly a loaded term here, implying that that we’re nonsensically baying at Disney proper. If we “hounded” them, we did so because the LGBT+ community and their allies in Florida need to know if they’re safe. They already live dangerous lives just by existing and they are stunned a random bill like HB 1557 suddenly throws a monkey wrench into their lives. They fear it’s one step closer to being outlawed, rounded up, imprisoned, and executed. “Slippery Slope” fallacy, maybe, but governments have historically been known to try to exterminate non-heterosexuality. It’s a law that forbids their presence be uttered in the classroom. And with Walt Disney World being both Florida’s largest on-site single employer AND known for contributing large sums to the Republican party in exchange for reduced regulations and smaller tax rates, it’s important to them to hear from Disney that they support them.
The company who employs so many…the company that helps shape and define us growing up…it just isn’t enough anymore to stay silent and make a movie once in a while where a gay character sorta might exist in the background if you squint real hard. And really…”poll after poll”? Which ones, exactly?
Leaked videos of Disney meetings revealed the company is looking to push sexual ideas in its films after the multibillion-dollar corporation decided to oppose Florida’s law that bans such ideas from being taught to children in the third grade and lower. The polling group Trafalgar partnered with the Convention of States Action to determine the popularity of that move, and it went as expected.
…And it goes down the toilet pretty quick here. For starters, I need Faria to specifically cite “sexual ideas”. Because showing two guys kissing is equally as raunchy as watching a man and woman kiss, and I think that’s where a lot of people get mixed up. If Disney claimed they wanted to show two princes actively having sex, or even groping, then yeah, I wouldn’t be cool with that. But no one’s talking about sex, let alone gay sex.
Second, these videos he shared in his article were from Christopher Rufo’s Twitter. If you don’t know who Rufo is, I’m jealous. Because Rufo is singularly responsible for inciting the Critical Race Theory panic in the country. He admitted it, too.
I was put off by this claim of the “leaked videos” in his article. Both videos shown in Faria’s article were of Disney’s Reimagine Tomorrow initiative, but several (Conservative) articles online all notate them as leaked, but they don’t feel leaked. I mean, they have a ASL signer in them, and if it were some interoffice meeting and someone was hearing impaired, I assume captions would have been turned on. But, let’s take that accusation at face value. Both vids were “leaked” to ALL these outlets by Rufo himself. This guy, literally a professional pot-stirrer? HE’S your trustworthy source??
I watched the videos he provided. These quotes aren’t really taken out of context, but Karen Burke doesn’t say anything about 50% of characters being LGBTQIA and racial minorities. She says “fifty percent of the tears, they’re coming…” but not that claim, which isn’t even all that controversial. In fact, I like how she suggests that there should be more gay characters, but not necessarily gay stories. I mean…what a concept. Making a character whose sexuality isn’t the central tenet of their identity? That’s pretty refreshing. Especially since the right thinks being gay means gay sex, but being straight means wholesome romance. Can’t imagine why the parent of two non-het children might want to that kind of nuance. Ms. Raveneau did refer to her “not-at-all secret gay agenda”, but it’s pretty clear she was being cheeky. She does admit to “adding queerness”, but I fail to see what the issue is, considering seeing gay characters does not make children gay. Something the right seems a touch unclear on.
Lastly, let me take a look at the people who did this poll. Trafalgar Group seems to be okay. Fivethirtyeight gave them an A-, but a New York Times article calls their methodology into question, claiming their page online is pretty vague. And…
…yeah. Even the poll results don’t divulge how the results were achieved. I can only make an assumption, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
But lemme just…Oh. oh, I see. Yeah, that partner, Convention of States Action? It’s a far-right, conservative think tank. It’s a group who makes it their sole mission to constrict federal power over states. Even if you are okay with this, the fact their homepage has glowing endorsements from the likes of Ron DeSantis, Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, Rand Paul, Greg Abbot, Chip Roy, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, James Dobson, Marco Rubio, Mark Meadows, Rick Santorum, and Mike Huckabee should tell you all you need to know. These folks are not pillars of bipartisanship. So of course you’re gonna get skewed results. Which is kinda important when doing these kind of polls.
Over 68% of people are less likely to do business with Disney as a result of the company “focusing on creating content to expose young children to sexual ideas.” That number includes 48% among Democrats. Around 69% of people are likely “to support family-friendly alternatives to Disney,” including 58% of Democrats. Both questions pull a majority from every racial group, age group, and from both men and women.
(Very long, deep, zen sigh, begging the Darkness to remain at bay for just a little bit longer.)
Allow me to quote the whole question in its entirety: “News reports reveal Disney is focusing on creating content to expose children to sexual ideas. Does this make you more or less likely to do business with Disney?”, as stated above. I’m going to say this as gently as I can: THEY. ARE. NOT. DOING. THAT. They are working to have more representation of people who are not straight or cisgender and TREAT IT WITH THE SAME LEVEL OF WHOLESOMENESS AS SAID STRAIGHT AND CISGENDERED PEOPLE. Like I said, no one’s talking about sex positions or body parts. It makes as much sense as saying showing Aladdin and Jasmine kissing endorses vaginal/penile penetration.
And how likely are these folks seeking family-friendly alternatives to Disney? I’m sure you mean following the train of thought that parents are so outraged they’ll take their business elsewhere. But I would seek out alternatives because I want my child to be exposed to more than just Mickey Mouse. I’ll show her Looney Tunes, which featured rampant violence and Bugs Bunny constantly in drag. I’ll show her cartoons like Avatar: the Last Airbender, which delved into the nuances and horrors of war. Or Scooby-Doo so she can follow clues and solve mysteries. And even if I have no intent, there’s a ton of options out there that aren’t under Mickey’s far-reaching grasp.
Now, here’s what Faria isn’t telling you: the people selected aren’t exactly a diverse slice of Americans. According to Trafalgar’s specs, this was a selection on only 1079 people over just three days…and 63.1% of them were age 45 and up, and 71.2% were white. Yes, the party balance was negligible, if slightly leaning Democratic, but it says something when a majority of your survey-takers are mostly white boomers. And while I can’t determine exactly how this survey was distributed, it’s a safe bet it would have been in e-mails, embedded in online articles from conservative publications, or otherwise directed by algorithms following an individual’s political affiliations. In other words, unless you can ensure this survey was issued across vast swath of people, AND the question wasn’t intentionally loaded from the get-go…yeah, it’s a safe bet the average survey responder was wearing a red hat. Oh, and there doesn’t seem to be a demographic distinction for straight responders versus LGBT+ and allies. WEIRD, THAT. Might that have been a wee bit too transparent for ya?!
Still, thanks Mr. Faria! Thank you for citing your source so I may relentlessly take apart your flimsy arguments! And thanks for providing the link so I can tell my readers to click ‘See Full Report’ and see for themselves!
This matches with everything we know about Florida’s law. Democrats in Florida support the language of the law, and the support crosses partisan lines nationally as well. It turns out that parents who don’t want teachers instructing their children about sexual orientation and gender transitions don’t want the multibillion-dollar mouse corporation doing it, either.
If by “support”, you mean 52%? Yeah, I clicked the link, too. And 42% of your pollsters were at least 65 years old. And at least I’m willing to cut you some slack if there’s any disparity between 51% to 60% as a “majority”. Like how you claim 55% to 58% of Democratic voters agree, but 70% of Republicans agree. That’s a huge disparity. And like the earlier poll, I wanted to break down the demographics to see who was surveyed…but that information is suspiciously unavailable. In fact, it too, admits it surveyed 1000 people in three days online, which, again, says to me this was a poll directed by an algorithm that would have found its way to a skewed demographic, but I can only speculate. Fivethirtyeight certifies they, too, have a rating of A-, but I would need to see how they got their results. The link above sends you to another article of Faria’s where he triumphantly touts the results, but it includes the link to the poll, so you’ll see what I mean.
And there’s something to be said about “the language of the bill”. See, what’s funny about bills is they can say anything but be enforced in a whole other way. There is definitely historical precedent for laws that sound like they’re meant to uphold the rule of law, but the police can then harass and arrest a certain demographic of people on trumped-up charges. Seriously, Google the Black Codes. And when we leftists claim unfairness, the nimrods who draft the law and its defenders will argue “But the law doesn’t SAY just X people, so it must be their fault!” And this is why discussions on race and CRT are important, Rufo.
That said, here’s the language of the bill that was presented in the poll:
by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in Kindergarten through third grade or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
And that sounds fine. I, too, don’t want my daughter learning inappropriate sexual anything at those ages, either. But here’s the rub: define “inappropriate”. No really. What is okay and isn’t okay? Where does the law draw the line? Teaching my daughter that some girls like other girls is fine, as far as I’m concerned, but there are plenty of conservative moms who will recoil at the idea that Billy will come home and talk about how Jimmy has two dads. That’s the problem. It’s intentionally worded vaguely so that literally anything could be construed as “inappropriate”. And THAT’S THE PROBLEM. Teachers now are scared they can’t say anything without fear of a lawsuit or even termination coming down on them, even off-hand remarks about Jimmy’s dads.
Lastly, Disney’s not “teaching” anything. Disney artists just want to put characters in their media who aren’t straight and tell their stories, whether they’re based on that part of them or not. Because representation matters. And while it’s not a stretch to say if you don’t want your kids’ teachers talking about gayness, you probably don’t want Disney to do it either, that’s being intentionally inflammatory. Not to mention, Disney’s not in the teaching business, they’re a media company. But I want them to feature positive gay characters so everyone’s gay children can grow up not hating themselves because every gay person on TV is either a punchline, a victim, or a villain.
The bleating of gay and transgender activists doesn’t change the fact that the law is entirely reasonable and has support across every demographic group. Disney executives, worried about bad public relations with obnoxious activists and journalists who want to pick fights with Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, jumped into a political fight without doing any research. Disney embraced unpopular activists protesting against a popular law, and the result is exactly what everyone should have expected.
“Bleating”, huh? Boy, that’s some unbiased journalistic integrity right there. Like I said before, I can get away with calling your article “arrogance-coated dreck” because I make no compunctions about my articles being opinion, whereas your publication wants your readers to think you are on par with Cronkite.
The fact is, we as a nation are growing more and more progressive and that can’t be stopped. Each generation has less and less of a problem with others being different and that continues to gain momentum. It used to be laughable for media companies to cater to those on the LGBT+ spectrum because being not-straight was such a marginalized minority. But now, millenials don’t see what the big deal is because being gay doesn’t affect anyone but themselves. And companies like Disney are chomping at the bit to cash in on the growing trend because…well, capitalism. But trust me, I seriously doubt there wasn’t any market research done before they began rolling out the rainbow-colored merch. And the fact they haven’t stopped is not a moral statement, it’s a fiscal one.
And again, it’s not as though Disney hadn’t tried to stay out of the issue because they don’t want to lose consumers on both sides, but they saw the writing on the wall. Acceptance of others is becoming mainstream and there’s a market for more than the cis het white demographic they’ve been catering to for decades. They touted values of family, friendship, empathy, compassion, kindness…and loving even your gay neighbor and wanting them to be okay is still in line with that perspective.
By the way, that’s an awful smug tone you’ve got there. Again, true journalistic integrity you got, there.
Disney never had to join this dumb political dispute, but now it knows exactly where it stands. Whether people will actually put their money where their mouths are or not, it’s clear that Disney picked a losing issue. The company will gain nothing from this fight, or from sexualizing its own childrens’ content, but the knowledge that its voice is held hostage by a small group of loud activists.
Let me ask you something, Faria…if Disney came out in the nineteen forties, like right in the heart of the Jim Crow era, and made movies and cartoons where black people were made as normalized as white people, would you have opposed that? No? Might you have revered them for being progressive long before the civil rights movement years later? However, back then, “separate but equal” and sundown towns were the norm. And thousands of moviegoers would have been appalled that there were black people onscreen on equal footing with white people. In hindsight, we can look back and agree that was downright brave of them. That was a choice that was morally the right one. And being LGBT+ is no different. The fact you are conflating being non-het with being a pedophile, a groomer, or a child predator says a lot about you and it’s pretty freaking repulsive. Because again, and I’m gonna say it for those in the back: NO 👏 ONE 👏 IS 👏 TEACHING 👏 YOUR 👏 KIDS 👏 GAY 👏 SEX 👏 THEY 👏JUST 👏 WANT 👏 TO 👏EXPLAIN 👏 THESE 👏 CONCEPTS 👏 IN 👏 APPROPRIATE 👏 WAYS!
Allow me to demonstrate: “Children, some kids have a mommy and a daddy. Some kids have two daddies. Some kids have two mommies. And that’s okay. Because it doesn’t matter who they fall in love with, as long as they’re happy.”
Or…”Children, most of the time, you are born a girl or a boy, and you stay that way as you grow up. But sometimes, there are people who decide they feel more comfortable as the other gender. And that is their right and their decision. Just as you feel more comfortable with a nickname or certain styles of clothes you wear, you find ways to define yourself growing up how it makes you feel best. And it’s our duty as a society, as a community, to honor people’s personal decisions as long as they don’t hurt anyone else.”
See? And a smart teacher can field any tricky follow-up questions with tailored, age-appropriate answers without getting into details. But a bill that vaguely defines a threshold of “appropriate” leaves far too much wiggle room to allow literally anything to be labeled inappropriate.
And Disney’s gain? Well, again, being seen as a progressive voice and allowing kids to grow up in a world where you can be comfortable with who you are seems pretty cool. But of course, we can’t pretend this isn’t guided by financial incentive, and Disney is certainly noticing that as the older generation ages and passes, newer ideologies come into play, and if a company like Disney wants to keep being profitable, they have to roll with the punches and adapt in a changing world.
I could forgive Vanboskerck and Hawkins for being regular conservative civilians who clutch their figurative pearls and decry that removing the wench auction at Disneyland and a Pixar movie about a puberty metaphor are going to ruin us all, because they’re just people with opinions. But Faria here is being much more insidious, chortling that some polls are intentionally twisted to suit his worldview and convinced in his self-righteous vendetta that he prints articles with the explicit intention to sway others who don’t bother to look deeper into his “research”. It’s disgustingly disingenuous and appalling to do this, even to his readers who already align with his views, because everyone deserves the truth. And you can’t do that when you enact polls that don’t take a neutral stance, don’t take large enough samples, and don’t distribute them equally. He preys on people’s ignorance, and that’s what lets scumbags like him and Rufo to slide in and concoct weird boogeyman stories about teachers talking about gay orgies or something to small children when that was never happening to begin with.
So Faria, go to Hell. We don’t need your smug propaganda disguised as journalism, and I hope if you have children and they turn out to be LGBT+, I hope they get the love, acceptance, empathy, and information they deserve. Being young is hard enough as is, and shutting down important conversations because some Karen thinks it’s “inappropriate” is not okay with me.
Thanks to Glori Kitty Addison for showing me this article!