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Walt Disney Experts Address Allegations Against the Mickey Mouse Creator

Aug 3, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Longstanding allegations against Mickey Mouse creator and iconic entertainment figure Walt Disney surfaced Sunday at a Television Critics Association summer press tour panel, with people behind a new documentary on Disney generally dismissing the accusations.

Entertainment Weekly reports that Sarah Colt, the director and producer of the new PBS “American Experience” film, set to air this fall, focused in particular on the suggestion that Disney was anti-Semitic.

Said Colt: “That’s just not based on any truths, so there’s no reason to bring it up in the film. It wasn’t relevant. There isn’t any evidence.”

Neal Gabler, the author of “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” offered a similar perspective, noting that in his research on Disney, “I saw no evidence, other than casual anti-Semitism that virtually every gentile at that time would have, that Walt Disney was an anti-Semite.”

Gabler is also quoted by EW saying: “There are many charges against Walt Disney, and if you answered every one of them, you’d have a four-hour film that was nothing but rebutting charges.”

The experts conceded that Disney was both revered and feared, EW notes. Said Gabler: “Everyone was terrified of [Disney].”

The four-hour PBS documentary airs Sept. 14 and 15. Here’s a trailer:

6 Comments

  1. There is a British documentary called, “Secret Life of Walt Disney,” that interviewed people who knew Uncle Walt. There is plenty of evidence he was a rabid anti-semite. I wouldn’t listen to a bunch historical revisionists who don’t know what they’re talking about and go with people who know him. (Source: DisneyHub(dot)blogspot(dot)com. See Morty Mouse Club tab.)

    • “I wouldn’t listen to a bunch historical revisionists who don’t know what they’re talking about”…

      You mean like those who make “documentaries” (Secret Life of Walt Disney)… that are produced by a company owned by Warner Brothers… or those who run a website with such a “unbiased” agenda that it’s like listening to a politician rant about their opponent’s character.

      Neither of these sources can be considered even remotely objective about Disney.

      Let alone truthful.

    • To CatFudHunter:

      Both the Channel Four “documentary” and the DisneyLeaks website you are getting your “facts” from, are extremely suspect. I’ve seen the former, and it has been creatively edited to present the worst possible portrait of Walt, populated primarily by participants of the 1941 animators’ strike. The presence of Marc Eliot, whose book, “Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince,” has been widely discredited not only by Walt enthusiasts, but by historians and journalists in general, further adds to the film’s disrepute. And my impression of the blog you cite isn’t any better. I don’t know what “evidence” you are talking about, but it certainly wasn’t there. Just more innuendo and conjecture. I’m not going to pretend Walt was a saint, or anything like that. He certainly had his share of flaws, like all of us, but being a “rabid anti-Semite” was not among them. That’s why it’s not covered in the PBS film.

      Oh, but of course, I suppose if anyone disagrees with you on this matter, they just don’t know what they’re talking about, no matter how much work they’ve done on the subject. Or, perhaps, they’re part of a conspiracy to keep the “truth” from surfacing. Well, unless you can come up with something real to back up your claims, I’ll assume you’re just another uninformed hater who likes to tear great people down….especially when they’ve been dead for almost 50 years.

      And, by the way, this PBS film IS populated with several people who knew Walt, including Marty Sklar and songwriter Dick Sherman, both of whom worked closely with Walt for years and who happen to be Jewish! Why don’t you go ahead and call Walt a “rabid anti-Semite” to their faces and see what happens!

      Oh, also, you might want to be careful about comparing anyone to Hitler. To the best of my knowledge, Walt never authorized any death camps. In fact, as I recall, he did everything on the home front to defeat Hitler during World War II. Vicious and stupid comparisons like that just makes you sound like an ass. (Ditto the Scientology comparison)

  2. What is the point? Does this make Annette less cute? Fess Parker less of a hero to a generation of kids? Disneyworld any less fun? Yes, George Clooney and Tomorrowland wasn’t all we hoped, but Disney has been dead almost 50 years. This is not his fault. Bringing this up now doesn’t change the great joy he has brought to generations of kids and their parents.

    • Actually, that’s the whole point of a biography. If Disney was a “rabid anti-semite” or just your typical “average” anti-semite (?!) DOES make a difference in how history should (and will) regard him. Just as if there were evidence that Disney was a member of the KKK. Your argument is like saying it doesn’t matter that Henry Ford worked with the Nazis long after their political leanings were established, just as long as he made nice cars. It ALL matters, to one extent or another.

  3. You’re kidding, right. Quoting from your article Gabler says himself that Disney was anti-semitic.

    “Neal Gabler, the author of “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” offered a similar perspective, noting that in his research on Disney, “I saw no evidence, other than casual anti-Semitism that virtually every gentile at that time would have, that Walt Disney was an anti-Semite.””

    He admits that Disney was an anti-Semite. Oh, right, no more than “virtually every gentile” was. I guess by that rationale, all those lynching black in the south 100 years ago weren’t racist.

    Come on! I don’t think “casual” is a positive form of anti-Semitism.
    Please. I’m not saying he wasn’t a great film-maker/businessman – but really.

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