Are Disney ‘Gender Bigots’? Meryl Streep Thinks So…
DISNEY are a problematic bunch at the best of times, and unfortunately for them, they’ve been very successful and for a long, long time, which means they’re subject to the kind of scrutiny that not many other organisations are.
Amongst their many detractors, Meryl Streep has stuck a well placed boot in while being her usual glorious self at the National Board of Review awards dinner, delivering a nine-minute speech, aiming a dig or two at Disney.
Streep was presenting Emma Thompson with the organization’s Best Actress award for her role as Mary Poppins in the film, ‘Saving Mr Banks’. Along the way, Streep called Thompson “a beautiful artist” and “practically a saint.” And then got her scorn ready.
Disney, in the past, have been accused of anti-Semitism and more, but Streep focused her ire on Disney’s treatment of women, calling Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks in the film, for the record) a “gender bigot” and quoting longtime Disney animator Ward Kimball, who said his boss “didn’t trust women or cats.”
The Jews got a mention to, with Streep accusing Disney of supporting “an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group,” invariably a reference to the Motion Picture Alliance. She also quoted a letter allegedly written by Disney’s company to an aspiring female animator which read, in part “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.”
What did Disney have to say about the matter? Well, they, under the Walt Disney Museum guise, took to Twitter to say: “Hey @officialMStreep! Want the real truth about Walt Disney? Visit the museum and we’ll give you a tour. Or, you know… Google it. :)”
The Walt Disney Family Museum opened in 2009 in San Francisco and was co-founded by Walt Disney’s daughter Diane Disney Miller and his grandson Walter E. D. Miller.
The museum retweeted a blog post by animator Floyd Norman (who used to work for Disney) where he said: “He was not a perfect man nor did we expect him to be. Like most of us, he continued to grow as he moved through life and in time he recognized women could compete alongside men. He knew that talent had no colour or ethnicity and he judged people by their ability to do their job and do it well… Hardly an American to be vilified. Walt Disney deserves to be celebrated.”
So there you have it. Which side are you on?