Imagination Connoisseur, Calvin Bowes, would like to see a documentary about the real Walt Disney but fears the Disney studio would exert pressure to make sure it never saw the light of day.
(edited for clarity)
You were recently talking about Disney dominance and it got me thinking … What would happen if a studio decided to do a bio-pic about Walt Disney that showed him for who he really was: a racist, anti-Semite who originally supported the Nazis so he could keep his films in Germany only to change his mind after we entered World War II?
He was also a man who supported blacklisting people so he could breakup unions so he could pay people less.
I myself saw it first hand when I was hired as a local housemaster in Phoenix (because he picked them out himself). He would not allow blacks to audition.
My best friend, who was black, was sent home because Disney said he did not want “coal” on his stages. I remember hearing him say that.
Those were the words of dear “Uncle Walt.”
I believe if this movie was made, Disney would call out their big time lawyers and start suing, keeping it in court so long as to bankrupt a studio from fighting it. They may even threaten theaters that if they play this movie they wouldn’t get the next Marvel movie.
This is the problem with a virtual monopoly like Disney. The studio’s power can be used to stifle free speech.
I personally would love to see a film like this but it would never happen.
Politicians will take down a statue of Kate Smith in Philadelphia for a song she sang 80 years ago, but proudly display a statue of this racist and make him the symbol of family values.
That is not the man he was.
But we will never see a film like this, because of the control Disney has.
What do you think, Rob?
– Calvin B.
Editor’s note: the letter above represents the view of the writer and not the website, its editor/manager, nor Robert Meyer Burnett. While we don’t typically fact-check letters that come to The Burnettwork, we did a quick search online to verify whether or not Walt Disney was widely known to be anti-semetic.
Our research turned up some interesting articles we encourage readers to review (if you’re interested in learning more about this topic before arriving at your own conclusion):
• In 2017, PBS produced a four-hour documentary as part of its AMERICAN EXPERIENCE program that included information on the darker side of Walt Disney. This review of the documentary in USA TODAY provides an overview of the program. The documentary fails to address charges that Disney was an anti-semite and a racist, however.
• Claims that Disney was an anti-Semite were refuted in this 2017 story on the Insider website. Unlike the claim made by Calvin in this letter, the Insider piece connects the rumors to Disney’s involvement with the founding of the Motion Picture Alliance which, allegedly, included many anti-semetic members.
• Finally, for those looking to find confirmation of some of the more sordid claims about Disney can look into the book Walt Disney: Hollywood’s Dark Prince. A summary of the book and reviews can be found on this Wikipedia page.