Fact-Checking Meryl Streep’s Disney-Bashing Speech

While there are surely many things that the actress Meryl Streep can do well, critical thinking and historical research will not appear at the top of that list anytime soon. At the National Board of Review dinner a few nights ago, Streep made headlines when she bashed Walt Disney while presenting the best actress award to Emma Thompson, for her role as P.L. Travers in the Walt Disney biopic Saving Mr. Banks.

As part of a nearly ten-minute speech, Streep lobbed countless nasty, well-worn accusations at Disney, characterizing him as a racist, an anti-Semite, and a ‘gender-bigot.’ Her demonization of Disney was wildly applauded all over, but for all her frankness, she displayed massive ignorance about both Walt Disney’s life and American history. Every statement she made about Disney was either grossly distorted or outright false. Here’s a fact-check of Streep’s Walt-bashing:

MERYL STREEP: “Some of [Walt Disney's] associates reported that Walt Disney didn’t really like women. Ward Kimball, who was one of his chief animators, one of the original “Nine Old Men,” creator of the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, Jiminy Cricket, said of Disney, ‘He didn’t trust women, or cats.’”

FACT: As the family-approved biographer of Ward Kimball, I’m tickled to see Ward quoted in a public venue. But it also pains me to see Ward’s words taken out of context to serve someone else’s personal agenda. I’ve read thousands of pages of Ward’s writings, including his personal diaries, and I can say unequivocally that Ward never felt Walt Disney ‘didn’t really like women.’ In the quote, Ward claims that Walt was suspicious of women, but I don’t know the context of that statement. And guess what, Meryl doesn’t know the context either. That’s the entirety of the quote published in Neal Gabler’s biography of Walt Disney, stripped of all its original nuance and meaning. We can only assume that there was something that Kimball said that preceded and followed his soundbite-worthy statement. The fact that Kimball listed both women and cats in the same sentence suggests that he was being playful and facetious, a reflection of his personality. He would have likely cringed to see someone misappropriating his comments to attack a man whom he deeply respected and admired.

MERYL STREEP: “Disney…was perhaps…or had some racist proclivities.”

FACT: Streep provides no specific accusations here. So let me just say this: no respected Disney historian has ever uncovered evidence that Walt Disney was racist. And goodness knows, we’ve digged in every corner. There is evidence that Walt uttered politically incorrect remarks (in a less sensitive era and long before the concept of ‘political correctness’ ever existed). However, after thousands of interviews with his employees and an immense paper trail, zero evidence has surfaced that he engaged in discriminatory acts against any individual based on race, ethnicity, color, religion, or sex. It’s safe to say at this point that as a visionary futurist, Disney did not believe in running his company or behaving in a racist manner.

MERYL STREEP: “And he was certainly, on the evidence of his company’s policies, a gender bigot.”

FACT: Streep’s accusation stems from a 1938 letter written to a prospective employee. Streep read from it during her speech:

“Dear Miss Ford, your letter of recent date has been received in the inking and painting department for reply. 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. For this reason, girls are not considered for the training school. The only work open to women consists of tracing the characters on clear celluloid sheets with India ink, and then, filling in the tracing on the reverse side with paint according to directions.”

Firstly, this letter is not some kind of smoking gun. It was a basic form letter that was copied almost verbatim from the studio’s 1938 employee policies handbook. John Canemaker quoted the exact same policy in his 1996 book Before the Animation Begins: The Art and lives of Disney Inspiration Sketch Artists. The information in that book remained largely ignored for seventeen years, and it wasn’t until this random letter appeared online a few years ago that people suddenly became aware of this historical tidbit.

Here’s the reality: this policy was not unique to the Disney studio. It was a universal policy exercised by every single animation studio during the 1930s. The hierarchy was always the same: the vast majority of women worked in ink-and-paint, men worked exclusively in story, art direction and animation. Was it right? No. Was it American society in the 1930s? You betcha’. There were more industries then than today that were organized along gender lines. Women were also underrepresented throughout the workforce; the U.S. government launched propaganda campaigns in the early-1940s to encourage woman to work, so it could fill manpower shortages in the factories.

If Walt’s behavior makes him a gender-bigot, then it would only be fair to label every other animation studio head, not to mention nearly all industrialists, CEOs, political figures and businessmen from that era, as such, too. But from Streep’s perspective, it’s perfectly acceptable to isolate Walt Disney from the timeline of American history and hold him to the standards of 2014, while the rest of 1930s America gets a free pass.

But there’s another dimension to this issue, as well, that makes Streep’s comments outright false. Despite the official policy of the Disney studio being that women would only work in ink-and-paint, Walt ignored his own company’s policy time and time again. He always promoted women into different positions based on their skillsets. In the Thirties and Forties, dozens of women worked in traditionally male positions, occupying spots in animation (Retta Scott, Mildred Rossi), art direction (Mary Blair), visual development (Sylvia Moberly-Holland), assistant direction (Bee Selck), story (Bianca Majolie, Sterling Sturtevant), character model (Lorna Soderstrom, Fini Rudiger), background painting (Thelma Witmer, Ethel Kulsar), promotional art and advertising (Gyo Fujikawa), music editing (Louisa Field), and assistant animation and inbetweening (Freddie Blackburn, Sylvia Niday, Sally Holmes, Elinor Fallberg, Mary Schuster, and Grace Stanzell in the 1940s, to name but a few, and joined in the 1950s by others like Lois Blumquist, Elizabeth Case, Retta Davidson, Eva Schneider, Dolores Apodaca, Bea Tomargo, Jane Shattuck and Sylvia Frye). As a percentage of his employees, more women worked in non-ink-&-paint artistic positions at Disney between the 1930s and 1950s than any other Golden Age animation studio.

RELATED: Walt Disney Was No “Gender Bigot”

MERYL STREEP: “He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group.”

FACT: This is the most grotesquely misinformed statement presented by Streep during her vitriolic speech. Streep is referring to Walt’s involvement in the formation of the Motion Picture Alliance for Preservation of American Ideals (MPA). This was not a fringe organization nor was its purpose anti-Semitism. It was a mainstream, if miguided and reactionary, organization enacted by the movie industry’s conservative elite, and its membership included a who’s who of Hollywood, among them directors Cecil B. DeMille, John Ford, Norman Taurog, King Vidor, Victor Fleming, Leo McCarey and Sam Wood; actors John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Ginger Rogers, Clark Gable, Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Montgomery, George Murphy (who later became a U.S. Senator) and Ronald Reagan (who later became president of the United States); MGM art director Cedric Gibbons; and gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.

When the MPA was formed in 1944, of which Disney became its first vice-president, its agenda was spelled out clearly in the group’s mission statement:

We believe in, and like, the American way of life: the liberty and freedom which generations before us have fought to create and preserve; the freedom to speak, to think, to live, to worship, to work, and to govern ourselves as individuals, as free men; the right to succeed or fail as free men, according to the measure of our ability and our strength.

Believing in these things, we find ourselves in sharp revolt against a rising tide of communism, fascism, and kindred beliefs, that seek by subversive means to undermine and change this way of life; groups that have forfeited their right to exist in this country of ours, because they seek to achieve their change by means other than the vested procedure of the ballot and to deny the right of the majority opinion of the people to rule.

In our special field of motion pictures, we resent the growing impression that this industry is made of, and dominated by, Communists, radicals, and crackpots. We believe that we represent the vast majority of the people who serve this great medium of expression. But unfortunately it has been an unorganized majority. This has been almost inevitable. The very love of freedom, of the rights of the individual, make this great majority reluctant to organize. But now we must, or we shall meanly lose “the last, best hope on earth.”

The group’s formation has to be viewed in the context of the much bigger ideological and cultural turfwar that was taking place in Hollywood at the time. The era and its politics are extensively documented in the recent book When Hollywood Was Right: How Movie Stars, Studio Moguls, and Big Business Remade American Politics. As part of that era’s politics, name-calling was fervent (sound familiar?). Conservatives referred to liberals as Pinkos, New Dealers, and Commies. Liberals, in turn, branded conservatives, like Walt, as Fascists and anti-Semites. Labelling the MPA an anti-Semitic organization was a rhetorical tactic used by the left to attack it, and while there were surely anti-Semites in the group, it was not an inherently anti-Semitic organization nor was that Walt’s reason for being involved in the group.

Walt’s involvement with the MPA peaked in 1947 when the group’s members testified in Washington D.C. in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. Disney was among those who spoke as a “friendly” witness and he called out the leader of the Disney studio strike, David Hilberman. Disney presumably felt vindicated after exposing who he believed were subversive elements within the Hollywood industry, because his involvement in the MPA—minimal as it had been—waned after his testimony. Disney’s actions speak powerfully to the notion that his involvement in the group was to settle personal scores against those whom he felt had wronged him, and never an ideological stance against Jews.

(Meryl Streep photo: Shutterstock/FeatureFlash)


  • Lamar the Revenger

    Awesome. Thank you Amid!

  • chris

    Who did her fact checking, Seth Macfarlane?

    • Cheese

      Or Jeffrey Katzenberg, except he had a female director direct “Kung Fu Panda 2?”

    • Harrison

      Now wait a minute, if Seth checked her facts, shouldn’t there have been a moment where she mentions how Walt got cryogenically frozen after he died.

  • Rufus

    I knew that sooner or later, sadly, Walt would end up a casualty of the culture wars.

    • Rubber Hose Arms

      Streep amazes me with her knowledge. She should really make a TV series out of these cultural revelations. They can call it “Mad Men.”

  • Joe

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  • Caitlin Cadieux

    I’m certainly no expert, and maybe there is no written evidence of Disney’s racism, I’ll quickly admit I haven’t done the research myself. But boy if Sunflower from Fantasia or the crows from Dumbo don’t have a very questionable air about them!

    • Ben A. Varkentine

      I think I’d argue the most racist thing about the crows from Dumbo is that they’re colored black, and they’re crows. Because they’re actually portrayed as sympathetic and intelligent, IIRC.

      • rubi-kun

        The most racist thing about them is the name “Jim Crow,” much moreso than anything about their characterization.

      • Scott Haile

        The crows from Dumbo are based on the standard characters from American minstrel theatre, a reduction of African Americans to very specific, extremely negative stereotypes. They are the very epitome of our nation’s racism.

    • Patrick

      The crows weren’t portrayed in a blackface way. The people who did their voices legitimately spoke like that. They didn’t even change the acting of the crows, they acted just like any Disney character would.

      • Thad Komorowski

        Except the voice of the lead, Jim Crow, was Cliff Edwards—who was white. Not fueling the hate, just saying…

        • I’m No Fool

          Cliff Edwards speaks and sings in “Dumbo” the same way he sounded in everything he did, on records, radio, motion pictures and television, for nearly 50 years.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dxiZVe_ND8

    • santiago

      Is funny you mention that about american cartoons from the forties, when in the sixties colored people still used different bathrooms and have to sit in the back of the bus. Let’s say uncle Walt is a racist and forget every possible historical context! Doesn’t Meryl Streep have someone who could tell her to read a little history before opening her big mouth?

      • Caitlin Cadieux

        I’m not 100% sure what you’re saying, but historical context doesn’t make racist things not racist, in general.

  • Caitlin Cadieux

    That all being said, I’m unconvinced by claims that Disney was anti-semitic, but he was absolutely a product of his time, and Streep’s targeted speech aside, I don’t think it’s a really reasonable excuse to say ‘well, everyone was like that back then and political correctness didn’t exist’. Better to look back on any possible issues he may have had and be glad we can do better now.

    • Streep was hardly looking back and expressing gratitude that we’re better off now. She was attacking him, despite the fact that, relative to his time period he was actually pretty progressive.

      historical context is important – it’s not an excuse. I understand the hesitance to use it when excusing harmful, violent, and discriminatory behavior…. but in the case of Walt Disney, he is being dragged down and for no good reason.

  • saska

    Could we quit arguing over a dead man/what happened in the 30s and perhaps focus on the problems and gender disparities that still exist in the film industry today, 2014? Such as… https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BaFnTjGCIAIwaFJ.png:large

    • Jude

      Why is the top bar for 9% on the left significantly longer than the bar for 9% on the right?

      • Martin Cohen

        The longest bar on the left is for 25%, on the right for 100%. So 9% would be four times longer on the left.

      • canimal

        Its called proportions

  • Rubber Hose Arms

    Iconoclasts can be so tedious at times.

    • Axolotl

      They’re always flogging a dead icon.

  • Matt

    Has anyone just considered that maybe just men prefer getting into the animation business more than women. I have worked in both feature animation and now games and the majority are men. I have never found it to be that way because of a bias. It has been that way simply because more men seem to be into animation. Trust me if there is someone with talent a studio will hire them no matter what sex they are. As for Meryl Streep, she sounds like an idiot.

    • Caitlin Cadieux

      I come from graphic design/motion design background and my college class was a slight majority of (extremely talented) women; most of the graphic design and motion graphics firms I’ve visited have been, by a vast majority, men. Why is that? I don’t know, but it’s not for a lack of interest or skill by women.

      I think things are changing and the gender split is evening out more, but at the least it’s ignorant to assume that women just aren’t interested.

    • Ignoranimus

      It seems that it’s mostly that men were encouraged more to pursue these sorts of careers more than women. Now that women are being treated more equally (not completely, but it’s improving), the numbers are beginning to even out.

    • canimal

      “Has anyone just considered that maybe just men prefer getting into the animation business more than women.”

      No. There are so many women trying to make it in to the animation business, in fact I’d say women outnumber men by a margin of at LEAST 3:2. Visit ANY school with an animation program and I guarantee you nine times out of ten there will be more women there than boys.

      “I have worked in both feature animation and now games and the majority are men.”

      So instead of this being an obvious indicator of the sexism within the industry, you choose to interpret this as “oh women just aren’t in to this kind of thing.” Great work using one of the most notoriously sexist industries of all time as an example, by the way.

      “I have never found it to be that way because of a bias.”

      Of COURSE you don’t, Matt! You’re a man! You don’t notice it happening because its not relevant to you and you have no reason to care. Just because it doesn’t affect you doesn’t mean its not happening.

      Nobody will ever listen to the voices of women in this industry because its already so stacked in favor of the men that we’re always drowned out by guys like you, who insist theres nothing sexist going on at all, and all the others who upvote and cheer on dangerously misinformed and ignorant comments like this.

      • Matt

        The whole there are more men than women thing gets old. You act as if a group of men sit down how to keep women out of animation. You act as if studios should hire more women just to have equal amounts of both sexes. I would hope people both male and female are being hired for talent and skills. Most of the applicants where I work are male but if there is a female applicant guess what we interview to and despite what you think we have hired them if their skills meet our needs not if the gender meets a quota. I have worked on animation teams white I was the only white male, should I assume the studio is has something against white males? That is absurd. Just because women are outnumbering the men in the schools at this time does not mean much if the talent is not there. I would hire anyone if I felt they could do the job and I felt they were a good fit. Of course I love how you claim I am drowning the women’s voices without even knowing me, great observation and I love your guarantees of animation schools being outnumbered by women cause I am sure you have personally delved into this and done a full study. Well I guess on Monday when I return to work I better fire half of my animation team cause guess what they are female and as you said I am drowning their voices so I better live up to what you are claiming I am.

        • Izbit

          >>The whole there are more men than women thing gets old.<>You act as if a
          group of men sit down how to keep women out of animation. You act as
          if studios should hire more women just to have equal amounts of both
          sexes.<>I would hope people both male and female are being hired for
          talent and skills.<>Most of the applicants where I work are male but if
          there is a female applicant guess what we interview to and despite what
          you think we have hired them if their skills meet our needs not if the
          gender meets a quota.<>I have worked on animation teams white I was the
          only white male, should I assume the studio is has something against
          white males? That is absurd.<>Just because women are outnumbering the
          men in the schools at this time does not mean much if the talent is not
          there. I would hire anyone if I felt they could do the job and I felt
          they were a good fit.<>Of course I love how you claim I am drowning the
          women’s voices without even knowing me, great observation<> Well I guess on Monday when I return to work I better fire half of my
          animation team cause guess what they are female and as you said I am
          drowning their voices so I better live up to what you are claiming I am.<<

          Again, unnecessary hyberpola. No one is actually suggesting you do that, or that doing anything like that would be a solution to the issue we were discussing.

      • Sieben Stern

        faith in humanity +100!!

    • Tim Drage

      Yeah lots of people have considered it – hopefully most of them have thus realised it to be very obviously wrong.

  • Nick

    There is plenty of evidence to back up Meryl Steeps claims. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmrp4WxiB58 Jump to minute 6 of this documentary. Little anecdote might open your eyes.

    • AmidAmidi

      When presenting evidence, it’s important to understand who’s presenting it. In this case, Bill Melendez was a striker, and many of the strikers held an extremely negative view of Disney, colored by their own prejudices. Their accounts of Walt’s behavior are often highly questionable.

      Melendez’s stories, especially the one about the Indian employee, has the whiff of a strike-line tall-tale designed to boost the morale of the strikers. What immediately makes Melendez’s story suspect is his careful recounting of Walt’s behind-closed-doors dialogue with an exec—something that Melendez would not have had access to. Perhaps it has some basis in truth, but extracting the truth from this exaggerated tale in which Walt does ‘takes’ because he sees an Indian, is impossible at this late date. The only thing we can do is compare it to the voluminous verified accounts of Disney’s behavior to see that Melendez is presenting an improbable story.

      The other person in the interview, screenwriter Joan Scott, was the husband of Adrian Scott, one of the Hollywood Ten, and she herself was blacklisted for a time too. Her story, you’ll note, doesn’t actually involve Walt Disney, nor any repurcussions for being Jewish. It is an unpleasant story from a woman who had many rightful reasons to be bitter about the treatment she received in the film industry.

  • http://codywalzel.com/ Cody Walzel

    Thank you for taking the time to asses an influential historical figure based on research rather than sensationalism- too many people glean the near history from vague public opinion. Like sophomores who most enthusiastically harass freshman, we come down hardest on the past nearest to us. The sentiment has already been expressed here, but I second the notion to celebrate continued progress rather than manipulate and demonize the nearest historical missteps.

  • Roberto Severino

    Oh God. When will celebrities like this stop trying to push all this false tripe and BS? It’s getting really old at this point.

  • AmidAmidi

    Walt never had a single right-hand man. At any given moment, he had numerous ‘whipping boys’ as they were known. Each of them operated their own little fiefdom, harbored their own dubious agendas, and had their own biases and prejudices. Especially in the early-1960s, when Scott worked there, the studio was huge and there was no way that Disney would have known what all of his trusted underlings were doing. As uncomfortable the moment was for Scott, it doesn’t appear to have had an impact on her work at Disney, otherwise it stands to reason that she would have mentioned it. It also bears repeating that she does not talk about any unpleasant experience involving Walt directly.

    • Strong Enough

      Amid i have a question about Walt. Was he a good artist? Could he draw or no?

    • http://www.spitandspite.com/ Hurrghhh

      seriously? lolz. yeah, why wouldn’t you go against Disney during an era when jobs in animation for women were so bountiful. Come Amid, stretchin’ it here brother.

  • Jessica

    Any positive feelings I had for this woman just tanked. How disgusting. This is why I tend to despise celebrities. Thank you for standing up for Mr. Disney, Amid.

  • Stephen Worth

    The one issue that I haven’t seen addressed yet is Disney’s ties to the Fascists prior to WW2. He definitely subscribed to the theory that “at least they make the trains run on time”. He had an autographed photo of Mussolini on his office wall and entertained both Mussolini’s son and Leni Riefenstahl at the studio. In fact, the very week that he gave Riefenstahl a sneak peek at Fantasia in production, Krystallnacht was on the front pages of American papers. Every other person in Hollywood (with the exception of Hal Roach) turned their back on Riefenstahl on that trip, but Disney welcomed her. This probably had a lot to do with his desire not to lose the European market for his pictures, but coinciding with Krystallnacht, it doesn’t speak well for his judgement on the issue.

    • Scott550

      The last studio to pull out of Germany during WW2 was MGM.

    • Chancey

      Walt met with Mussolini (who was a big fan of Mickey Mouse) in 1935, during an European vacation. It had nothing to do with politics, and Walt was no booster of Mussolini. Here’s what went down:

      In June 1934 Disney announced to the public his decision to make a feature-length film; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The workaholic Disney was showing signs of another nervous breakdown by early 1935 (he had already had one in 1931), and his brother Roy persuaded him to get away from the pressure by taking a family working vacation to Europe that summer. It lasted from mid-June to mid-August. Walt, wife Lillian, brother Roy, and Roy’s wife Edna landed in the Normandie in Plymouth on June 12, went to London where they discussed the booking of Disney films with British cinema executives, then to Paris in early July where Walt was presented with the Legion d‘Honneur. They rented a car and drove to Münich where Disney films were playing at a theater, and Roy signed a contract with Baveria Filmkunst Gmbh. to take over the distribution of Disney films in Germany. Their itinerary shows that they were in Münich from July 7 to 9. They next drove to Milan and Venice where the 3rd International Film Festival was showing. Disney’s The Band Concert received an award. Then to Rome, where the Disneys were wined & dined by the Minister of Propaganda, Count Galeazzo Ciano. Walt had a private meeting with Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, and was interviewed on a weekly newsreel. A gala evening was held for Disney at the Italian premiere of an American movie. After a couple of similar publicity events, the Disneys went on to Naples and Capri, then returned to America in the Italian ocean liner Rex in mid-August.

      http://cartoonresearch.com/index.php/debunking-the-myths-crusader-rabbit-and-walt-disney/

      And this little tidbit was in Leni Riefenstahl’s obituary:

      Though Olympia was later judged one of the finest movies of the century, Riefenstahl was snubbed when she visited Walt Disney in Hollywood in 1938.

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3093574.stm

      The more you know…

    • SeanMcTiernan

      What you have to bear in mind here is that, at the time, Hitler *wasn’t* seen as the villain we see him as now. Yes, there was a single report in the paper, but really look at the information flow of the time. It’s incredibly easy these days to say “They should’ve known better” but hindsight is 20/10.

      Back then, many people simply didn’t *believe* the Germans capable of what they were doing, and thought that they would quickly settle down. They were wrong, clearly so, but there was no way to see it coming at the time. Hell, that was whole problem with Europe, is their attempts at appeasement that let Germany get far stronger than it would have been if they’d simply dug in.

  • tim

    Yet there was never the nine old women…

  • mick

    what???? Mega rich people in showbiz pushing personal agendas!!!???? Who would have ever thought it? What’s that, there’s more? They may not be too well informed and are really just people? The shocks continue to roll in…. what’s next, religions dismissive of opposing beliefs?

  • George Comerci

    The problem is everyone reads to much into things (especially Streep).

  • optimist

    Indeed, Art Babbitt had many legitimate grievances with Walt Disney, the boss, and was justifiably furious at his treatment during and after the strike, but he never called him anti-semitic. I’m positive he would have had he thought so. He knew him well and didn’t mince words.

  • Claire Hummel

    Hm. I’d argue that saying Disney wasn’t any more sexist/racist than his contemporaries, that these were company policy at all the studios, does not discount said sexism/racism. It sucks when someone you look up to is called out, but you can support his work and his ideals while still critiquing the man and the culture he grew up in.

    “If Walt’s behavior makes him a gender-bigot, then it would only be fair to label every other animation studio head, not to mention nearly all industrialists, CEOs, political figures and businessmen from that era, as such, too.” Yes, we do. We do label those people as sexist.

    • Ness

      I agree. While Streep was exaggerating and flat-out misinformed in some of her statements, a kneejerk reaction like this, eager to defend Disney from accusations of sexism and racism just because “it was the times”, kind of unnerves me. It’s never too early to be progressive.

      • SeanMcTiernan

        But that’s the problem, Ness: For the times, he was an equal opportunity employer. As it quoted in the article, he *personally* went around company policy to hire women into those very roles that were denied by every other company in the industry. So in reality, he *was* progressive, very much so, but times changed to where he seems like he was very conservative by today’s standards.

        Think about it: When Song of the South came out, Disney got lambasted because they employed a black man in the signature role of the movie, and not just as a voice-actor, but really there, on screen. By today’s standards, it is seen as racist, just as back in the day it was made it was considered to be something they shouldn’t have done.

        Look no further than the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy to see further example of it. It had just come out, supported by the Dems of the time while Clinton was still in office, and it was hailed as one of the most progressive moves in the past 10-20 years. Flash forward, and the Dems celebrate it being struck down as this archaic thing, with some of them even having been involved in writing and fighting for it.

        • Matthew

          They would have been more angry if Uncle Remus had been played by a white man in blackface.

    • taranaich

      “Yes, we do. We do label those people as sexist.”

      The problem is that by omitting such pertinent facts, Streep falsely gives the impression that Disney was in some way unusual, when compared to the standards of his times, he was *less* sexist than his contemporaries. You can indeed simultaneously support & critique a man, but not by such a selective misrepresentation of the times and the man.

    • Karen Langlois

      [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Defamatory, rude, or unnecessarily antagonistic comments will be deleted.”]

      • Santiago

        I absolutely agree. Why she did that? Meryl Streep was an actress that I used to admire… Now she’s just a disgusting lady who does not know when to talk and when to shut up. Shame on her.

  • Roy Batty

    “As the family-approved biographer of Ward Kimball…”

    Anyone with some “critical thinking” skills can make much of that statement. It does not serve Amidi the way he thinks it does. Just look at how much admitted “family-approved” interference everyone says went on in the making of SAVING MR BANKS regarding of Walt’s character.

  • Ann Chaney

    Thanks for this article, Amid. I fear fewer will see this rebuttal than heard Streep’s words and accepted them as fact.

    Looks like Hollywood really does have its share of crackpots today, and Meryl Streep may be their queen!

  • Power_Animator

    He most definitely wasnt Father Christmas. Nor was he a saint, but we weren’t there to see what his views were for a fact. I do believe that he was a bit paranoid when it comes to communism; he was filmed talking about it… I do believe he was a product of his time. Him and anyone else with his views. Its slightly apparent in his films and cartoons.

  • Strong Enough

    isn’t she in the new Disney movie “Into The Woods”? hilarious… and awkward

  • Krypton Keeper

    I’m not usually a fan of Amid’s writing style, but holy hell was this a satisfying read. Streep pointing out the false (and grossly overused) accusations that he hated Jews, Women, and other races makes her look like a character straight out of Mike Judge’s Idocracy. This is the article of the friggin week. #CharlieChaplinWasHistorysGreatestMonster

  • ah, sorry for missing the “speech aside” part.

    My thought is that when talking about issues like this they should be targeting the entire time period, rather than picking and choosing specific people to attack. The exception being the people who actively worked to stop women from getting rights or equal jobs, of which there are plenty to choose from.

  • Joe Adamson

    Amid — You make some very good points — but I don’t know how you can say that the gender bias hiring policy “was a universal policy exercised by every single animation studio during the 1930s” or that the accusation applies to “every other animation studio head” when Walter Lantz’ hiring of Laverne Harding as an animator as early as 1934 has always been common knowledge in the business and is well documented — Those two sentences need the word “virtually” to work (true of many other statements that get made about Hollywood) and it’s the exception that proves the rule: Walter knew he was defying industry practice, but felt the practice was nonsensical.

    • AmidAmidi

      Joe – I specifically wrote: “the vast majority of women worked in ink-and-paint,” which acknowledges that there were exceptions. As you know, there were key women artists at most studios during the 1930s and ’40s: Lillian Friedman at Fleischer, Jean Blanchard at WB, Laverne Harding at Lantz, and so on. But an individual woman here and there is not evidence that gender-bias did not exist. Every single animation studio of that era prioritized men over women for its key creative positions, even if they did not write out the policy like Disney. The unfortunate irony is that though Disney was the only studio that recorded this guideline, they had more women occupying key creative positions than any other studio.

  • Stephen Worth

    I may be wrong, but I believe that was her first trip to Hollywood, not the one that coincided with news reports on Krystallnacht.

  • SarahJesness

    Agreed, and it’s also pretty likely that the current industry makes it hard for women to get in. It’s not just with animation, it’s with the entire film and TV industry. It’s overwhelmingly run by white dudes who prefer to hire other people like them, (which is usually more white dudes) and there are certain attitudes such as “women’s TV/movies don’t make as much money”, and “women will watch stuff for men but men won’t watch stuff for women, so the stuff for men is more valuable”, so they don’t see a need to get a female perspective on things.

  • MD707

    Yes, I’m sure she’s terribly disappointed with the way her career turned and all those Oscars that she’s had to take home.

    • Ilpalazzo

      Little Golden statues don’t pay the rent when they sit on a shelf, royalties from a comic book movie on the other hand…

  • Adrian C.

    When the news broke out about Streep’s diatribe a few days ago, I immediately thought “Amid Amidi has to comment on this.” It took a little longer than I expected but thank you for not disappointing me, and I say this without a even drop of irony.

  • Jim Beaver

    Interestingly, in light of the accusations that Streep didn’t do her homework, you, Mr. Amidi, missed some of yours. You refer to the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals as a “reactionary organization enacted by the movie industry’s conservative elite.” This is a fairly accurate description, yet it is not a nuanced one, at least as far as John Ford goes. You listed Ford as a member of the MPA, in effect lumping him in with the “reactionary conservative elite.” Yet, while deeply concerned about the threat of Communism to the United States (as many people of wide political stripe were in those days), Ford was a self-professed liberal, a supporter of Roosevelt and Truman, who stood up very publicly and forcefully against blacklisting and against the bullying tactics of the MPA and other anti-communist organizations in Hollywood. Ford spearheaded the move by the Directors Guild to censure Sam Wood (president of the MPA) for smearing many liberals in his statements to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Ford was the principal force in dismantling Cecil B. DeMille’s attempts to purge the Directors Guild of left-leaning members, and is famous within the Guild for his principled stand. And finally, as regards blacklisting, Ford said, “Send any of those Commie bastards to me. I’ll hire them.” All of this is available in one of the many Ford biographies, most notably Scott Eyman’s. To suggest by omission of detail and nuance that Ford was just another of the right-wing reactionaries who were the prime movers in the MPA is to do disservice to Ford and to history. Even as reprehensible an outfit as the MPA had men and women of integrity in it, trying (perhaps futilely) to keep it true to *liberal* ideas about the preservation of American ideals. As to Ford’s famous right-wing pals like John Wayne and Ward Bond, whose conservatism has often rubbed off on Ford with historians who haven’t done their homework, Ford would retort when they rattled on about Roosevelt being a Commie by saying, “You guys all got rich under Roosevelt.” Ford said that always shut them up like clams.

    • AmidAmidi

      Thank you, Jim, for this informative post about the great John Ford. Your comment illustrates the flaw with Streep’s argument. She defined the MPA as an anti-Semitic organization, and my only intent in listing its members was to point out the many influential people in Hollywood who were a part of it. As you point out, the MPA’s members included strongly principled individuals like Ford who would not have considered joining such an organization if it was simply an anti-Semitic front.

      • Matthew

        It also adds an interesting shade of gray to his working relationship with arch-conservative John Wayne. They were political opposites who did some of their best films together.

  • Steven Bowser

    Trying to simplify a real-life person is a big mistake. You simply can’t label somebody as “a racist” or “a bigot” and pretend that you’ve figured him/her out. Walt Disney was a real person with real complexity. He wasn’t perfect, but he isn’t some kind of monster either. He’s just a flawed person like everybody else.

  • DarylT

    Bigot and racist are very big words.is it fair to call someone that if it was unintentionsl. I say no. It puts them on the same level as the people who intentionally do it today.
    Also even if she did held this illinformed opinion this was not the place to say it. In an awards banquet speech for Emma Thompson just screams of no class.

  • Dan

    um, Streep’s next film is a Disney production…way to stick it to the man?

  • earlynothing

    The history of the Riefenstahl/Disney meeting is well documented, including in Steven Bach’s excellent 2007 biography “Leni: The Life and Work of Leni
    Riefenstahl.” Here, Bach describes Riefenstahl’s visit to the United States in 1938. She was several days into her visit when Kristallnacht occurred: “It was all ‘slander,’ she announced [about Kristallnacht], libelous attacks on her homeland and the ‘greatest man who ever lived” [Hitler]….Her sole inroad on household-name Hollywood was a private visit to Walt Disney at his studios, where the animator, whose ‘Snow White’ she had beaten out for the Mussolini Cup at Venice, gave her a tour of his facilities and showed her animation sketches of Mickey Mouse intended for “Fantasia.” Disney expressed a desire to see ‘Olympia’ in his own screening room but backed off in the end, citing fears of a boycott of his films by left-wing union projectionists should the screening become public knowledge….’In Hollywood, naturally, I ran into resistance from the Jews who, on my arrival, had already published a giant advertisement in several newspapers that – under the headline ‘There is no place in Hollywood for Fraulein Riefenstahl’ – demanded a boycott of me. Numerous American film directors didn’t dare to receive me because of their financial dependence on the Jewish moneymen. An honorable exception [was] Walt Disney, creator of Snow White, [who] warmly welcomed me and showed me his extensive studios and even
    his latest work. It was gratifying to learn how thoroughly proper Americans
    distance themselves from the smear campaigns of the Jews.” [pp. 170-179]

  • earlynothing

    The history of the Riefenstahl/Disney meeting is well documented, including in Steven Bach’s excellent 2007 biography “Leni: The Life and Work of Leni
    Riefenstahl.” Here, Bach describes Riefenstahl’s visit to the United States in 1938. She was several days into her visit when Kristallnacht occurred: “It was all ‘slander,’ she announced [about Kristallnacht], libelous attacks on her homeland and the ‘greatest man who ever lived” [Hitler]….Her sole inroad on household-name Hollywood was a private visit to Walt Disney at his studios, where the animator, whose ‘Snow White’ she had beaten out for the Mussolini Cup at Venice, gave her a tour of his facilities and showed her animation sketches of Mickey Mouse intended for “Fantasia.” Disney expressed a desire to see ‘Olympia’ in his own screening room but backed off in the end, citing fears of a boycott of his films by left-wing union projectionists should the screening become public knowledge….’In Hollywood, naturally, I ran into resistance from the Jews who, on my arrival, had already published a giant advertisement in several newspapers that – under the headline ‘There is no place in Hollywood for Fraulein Riefenstahl’ – demanded a boycott of me. Numerous American film directors didn’t dare to receive me because of their financial dependence on the Jewish moneymen. An honorable exception [was] Walt Disney, creator of Snow White, [who] warmly welcomed me and showed me his extensive studios and even
    his latest work. It was gratifying to learn how thoroughly proper Americans
    distance themselves from the smear campaigns of the Jews.” [pp. 170-179]

  • AmidAmidi

    If you read the piece, that’s not what I say at all. But good try at setting up a straw man argument.

  • timreis

    Your argument goes as follows
    Personal attack against opposition based on inability to fact check.
    Provide fact checking that actually supports everything she said.
    Assure everyone its ok because everyone was doing it and he wasn’t anti-Semitic just a plain old petty 1%er.
    Win the argument?

  • Mike Deangelo

    …wha-what? A self-righteous Hollywood A-lister decides we need to hear her opinion and it turns out she’s wrong?

    Well, shoot! Next thing you know, she’ll be telling us how to farm apples, too!

  • whatever

    she was damn right and meryl streep was the only brave enough to take the word…GOOD TO YOU MERYL!!! and before insulting someone i’m sure she’s way smarter than most of the people commenting around here

  • Guarina

    The best response is one by saska that shows the very slight representation of women in the movie industry at present.

  • Gern Blanston

    “Why would a successful, respected actress like Ms Streep feel the need
    to spew vicious lies in front of a group of people who most likely knew
    that she was lying?”

    The real question is why would she even take the time to derail a tribute to her “dear friend” with a diatribe that was out of place and also called more attention to herself than the honoree?

    According to Forbes, it’s because Harvey Feintstein, who made her current movie and to whom she owes a lot of favors. It’s Hollywood and Oscar politics, both of which Feinstein is notorious for manipulating to his own ends no matter what the cost.

    Streep’s ghostwritten speech was disguised as a “strong” statement for the rights of women and minorities. In reality these groups were “used” just as the high profile of Walt Disney was “used” and the results speak for themselves: she made a speech that the bulk of the public won’t verify and once again falsities about Walt Disney will continue to float around among those who cannot be bothered to look things up. The intent of the speech was not accuracy, it was to throw doubt into the minds of potential Oscar voters. (“Am I a bigot if I vote for a Disney film?” “Should I say that Emperor is naked?”)

    Streep’s speech was carefully scripted to push all the buttons that currently villify and sometimes bring down a public figure. It seems to happen every few months. This is not to say that these public figures did not merit their takedown, nor to justify what they said, but to suggest that “getting rid of them” was as much a goal as was their exposure as “bad.”

    The goal here was to throw mud at the Oscar votes connected with “Saving Mr Banks” without painting Emma Thompson with the same brush. Only someone as prestigious as Meryl Streep could take such a career risk in burning bridges with the Disney Studio and those who do business with it. She can never work again and never win awards again (both of which will not happen) and she will still be a Hollywood legend forever.

    Not only is she going to play the witch in Disney’s “Into the Woods,” she also collected hefty salaries for other Disney studio productions, including “Marvin’s Room” and “Doubt,” for which she got an Oscar nomination.

    The thing about stars and celebrities is that they can turn on a dime and still convince the media and general public that they are sincere. Look how many times an actor wildly misbehaves and then repents, is called “courageous” and clinches another movie or TV series. You can’t assume nor believe the true motives nor the machinations that brought them on.

    What you can know is that all major stars are as much a “brand” as Walt Disney was and is. Stars like Meryl Streep are like corporations with staffs and investors. They also invest heavily in various projects and political endeavors and thus people think twice before opposing them, lest they lose their funding.

    So you may not see Meryl Streep edited out of “Into the Woods” because the studio paid a fortune for her name and her ability to “open” a movie, as well as give her a percentage of the film that is likely paid to her production company. They are all companies as well as actors — not “just folks” as they may appear on talk shows.

    This speech came as no surprise to anyone, just as Ricky Gervais’ carefully scripted “misbehavior” was completely cleared with all the stars he pretended to diss. The proof is that he came back the following year after getting tons of publicity for the Golden Globes. Let’s see how many people congratulate Meryl Streep on her “courageous” speech in the coming weeks. Don’t want to make Harvey Weinstein seek you out otherwise, right?

    Perhaps years from now, another actor/pawn will not do the same thing to Meryl Streep’s memory as she did with Walt Disney. And will that performer do it because of their firm convictions or because they owe decades of favors to a person who had a lot to do with getting them the stature to make such a speech?

    Read Forbes here:
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2014/01/09/is-meryl-streeps-disney-bashing-oscar-season-mudslinging/

    • Ali C

      Best comment right here.

  • Rose Heels

    Jeez, what’s with all this jacking off on disney’s grave like he was such an amazing person who needs to be defended and proven to not be racist or sexist? If he was just as sexist/racist as every other white man at the time, even if he was somewhat less, it doesn’t absolve him from being an asshole. It is so satisfying to finally see him getting what has been coming to him, but just a little unfortunate that he couldn’t witness it with his own beady little eyes. Amusing though to see you all suckling on the mouse nose like whining babes.

    • otterhead

      Please, tell us how you know he’s an “asshole”. Did you spend a significant amount of time with Walt? Did you work with him, perchance? Or are you just spewing random hatred for fun and parroting lies you’ve read over the years without bothering with ‘facts’ or listening to what his co-workers had to say about the man?

  • Harrison

    With this crap she’s talking, I’m surprised she didn’t say how he was frozen after he died.

  • Richard A. Tucker

    Meryl Streep’s comments are not that far off base, simplified, yes, but for the most part true. Saying other powerful men in Hollywood did the same thing is no excuse. I’m tired of the notion that Walt Disney was some kind of genius too. He ruined perfectly good fairy tales to make them family friendly. He was the sexist version of PC (PC in that he minimized the violence in those stories, made simplistic motives where they were more complex and all because he wanted them to be family friendly but that also watered down the intentions of the lessons). That said Meryl’s tirade is inspired by the film treatment of the Mary Poppins affair in the recent film Saving Mr. Banks, where actual history took a serious drubbing to make Walt Disney look like this nice amicable guy. He wasn’t. walt’s an easy target because we’ve seen his legacy continue. That legacy is one where credit is heaped on Disney’s inventiveness while the real creative wit is referred to as hired help or the magic is simply stolen by way of loopholes in creative contracts, the ignoring and suing of surviving family members of creative people and essentially using their legal staff to bully people into compliance and into shutting up. It’s a sad and painfully thing to behold. I’m glad that in some ways the Disney brand is linked to progressive causes but I’ll always be troubled by the way they sic their lawyers on noisy people with genuine grievances for the way they were treated.

  • Justin Kase

    Next, I’m sure she’ll have something equally nasty about Woody Allen and Roman P. Unless of course the facts are not as readily available.

  • Kevin Martinez

    That’s a pretty gross and inaccurate way of looking at it. Look at Mammy Two-Shoes in the Tom and Jerry cartoons. Look at Lantz cartoons like Scrub Me Mama with a Boogie Beat. It’s pretty clear that no one studio was “better” than another in that respect.

    • Robert Fiore

      It’s an informed observation based on watching extensive representative samples of each studio’s output. I have looked at Mammy Two-Shoes and found her to be a comic character who aside from speaking in malapropisms is not particularly demeaning. Also, I put MGM second on the list. I have looked at the entirety of Scrub Me Mama With a Boogie Beat and not excerpts selected to make it look more racist than it actually was. More to the point, I have looked at Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B, which portrays non-stereotypical African Americans as combat soldiers and not menials. To me ignorance is applying a superficial one-drop rule rather than analyzing the different characteristics of each studio.

  • Chip S.

    Streep gave this speech as presenter of an award given by the National Board of Review, which served for many decades as the chief censor of movies in the US.

    I denounce her for failing to denounce this organization for its long history of oppression.

  • AmidAmidi

    Harvey, I already addressed this same issue in another comment so I will repost it again:

    There were key women artists at most studios during the 1930s and ’40s: Lillian Friedman at Fleischer, Jean Blanchard at WB, Laverne Harding at Lantz, and so on. But an individual woman here and there is not evidence that gender-bias did not exist. Every single animation studio of that era prioritized men over women for its key creative positions, even if they did not write out the policy like Disney. The unfortunate irony is that though Disney was the only studio that phsyically recorded such a guideline, they had more women percentagewise occupying key creative positions than any of those other studios .

    • Harvey Deneroff

      “had more women percentagewise occupying key creative positions than any of those other studios,” what time period are you talking about? In 1938, Fleischer had three: one animator (Friedman), an assistant animator/lyricist Edith Vernick and Nellie Sanborn, head of the Timing Department, who, according to Friedman, had a lot of clout, out of a total staff of about 200 (much less if you exclude inbetweeners, inkers, etc.). What are your figures for the percentage of women in key creative positions at Disney in 1938?

      • AmidAmidi

        Harvey, I wrote in the piece itself, “As a percentage of his employees, more women worked in non-ink-&-paint artistic positions at Disney between the 1930s and 1950s than any other Golden Age animation studio.”

        I list 21 artists during this period in the piece above, but there are countless more artists—inbetweeners and assistants especially—whose names remain to be discovered in the Disney archives. Historian Hans Perk estimates that there might have been between 50-60 female inbetweeners/assistants in 1945 alone.

  • Glenn

    Bravo, all very well put Amid. I hope she does the right thing and corrects the record. FWIW, here’s a piece I wrote on this as well (I believe a FB account is required to see it):
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/glenn-camhi/meryl-walt-accuracy/10151805829926765

  • Jeremy

    She does have a movie competing with Saving Mr Banks for awards. Surely coincidence.

  • Spartan91

    I have read many biographies of the men who ran Hollywood and he doesn’t sound any different then the rest. They all had big egos and thought their way was the only way. I don’t believe he was a saint anymore than I believe he was an evil bigot. The truth is usually somewhere in between.

  • HUAC Anyone?

    Anyone have any word about Disney and his time Black Listing people during his visit to the House of Unamerican Activities Committee and how many lives and careers it destroyed?

  • Doug

    I appreciate the nuanced reporting on this Amid. My question is why is it so popular to beat up on Walt Disney? Everyone likes to knock down the man at the top? Or is it as another commentator said here, that we just regurgitate things we’ve heard whether accurate or not?
    I find it irritating that a man who has given so much to animation and entertainment and to the world is turning into a cartoon characterization himself. We should unfreeze his head so he can defend himself.

  • dwsNY

    I’m sorry, but ol’ Walt *was* a regressive, right-wing reactionary, and the fact that there were others in Hollywood who shared some of the same abhorrent views doesn’t excuse him any more than it excuses them.

    While I don’t think he was anywhere near as passionate about politics as some others, he DID give the OK to shorts that presented stereotypical Jewish images for ridicule (“The Three Little PIgs”, “The Opry House”), he DID attend meetings of the German American Bund, he DID meet with and screen the films of Leni Reifenstahl when no other studio head would, and he DID join the parade of friendly witnesses before HUAC to destroy people’s careers for the simple cause that they had different political views.

    While Streep might have repeated and exaggerated some falsehoods, I’m sick of trying to excuse disgusting beliefs and behaviors as “the spirit of the time” when millions of other, better Americans saw fit to reject them.

  • Lauren

    So what if he did hate women and minorities? Why are you so incapable of accepting unfortunate things about somebody you idolize? Here’s the deal. He may have been a real dick. But would that really entirely soil your view of him? He was an icon, but that doesn’t mean he was a saint. You should be able to hold contradictory evidence about whether he was a good man in your mind without saying that Meryl is wrong and she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. You don’t know where she got her info. And she is also creating a legacy, she’s damn good actress. Her speech was thought provoking but that doesn’t mean it was wrong. It doesn’t seem to me like you did much fact checking at all.

  • Patricia Taylor

    OMG…Anti-Semitic? When did being Pro-American Ideals become Anti-Semitic? Oye vay Meryl…it’s time to find a cave and hide in it.

  • guest

    Ha! Found it! There was something about Meryl Streep I remembered…

    - snip –

    “Sometimes I blurt out things before I should because I want to get through it. I’m a little compulsively truthful, which I’m working on. I’m trying to ask, “Is it truthful, is it necessary, and is it kind?” Stone laughs. “Which is what Meryl Streep told Carrie Fisher and Carrie Fisher told me.” — in an article about Sharon Stone, The New Stone Age, by Margot Dougherty, Los Angeles Magazine, March 1998 p. 91

    - snip -

    (THAT Meryl Streep? What’s up with that, or this?)

  • JPeron

    Is Streep buying Nazi propaganda? The only way you can say that being anti-communist is anti-semitic is if you are claiming that all Jews are communists and all communist are Jews. That was the sort of BS the Nazis were spreading. Otherwise, being anti-communist is just that, anti-communist, and not something else.

  • Snagglepuss
  • freddymartin

    “Motion Picture Alliance for Preservation of American Ideals” was a good, valuable organization, as it attempted to keep out ideas that were Soviet, socialist or fascist; it had members who were Jewish studio heads and producers and writers.

  • http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/ Andrea K Haid

    Here’s an article about Disney’s grand niece Abigail Disney and her reaction to Meryl Streeps statements. Generally Abigail agrees with Streeps comments and she says “LOVED what Meryl Streep said. I know he was a man of his times and I can forgive him, but Saving Mr Banks was
    a brazen attempt by the company to make a saint out of the man. A devil
    he was not. Nor an angel. That’s the point and if you read ALL her
    remarks you’ll know that’s exactly what she was getting at.”
    Article: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/walt-disneys-grandniece-agrees-meryl-670039

  • Bill

    Mr. Amidi – thank you for your list of women from the ‘Golden Age’ who were not Ink & Paint employees. I have read about a few of them (Scott, Blair, Moberly-Holland, and Majolie), but what books (or on-line articles) would you recommend to read about the other women you listed? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

  • zachlen

    If you people think for one minute you will find anything the Streep accused Disney of would be documented,Your all NUTS. These were different times where certain things were not spoken of. I have known since the 50′s that he was anti-semetic. So was Lawrence Welk and

  • Sally Bode

    If one looks at the works which Disney is famous for: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, they all have one thing in common: female villains, even Dumbo was doomed because of his mother. Then the evil in the sea, the sea witch in the Little Mermaid. The Lion King, the evil was “the brother”, and Aladdin, the evil wizard, pretender to the throne. Disney loved magic and had a taste for the macabre, in a more light-hearted way. Enter the new era, the Disney studios make what are actually villains, the good guys such as the Pirates of the Caribbean. Do the movies shape us or do we shape them? It is both. The strongest female character so far I’ve seen is Fiona of Shrek fame. Again another female villain, behind it all.

    When you take your clues from fairy tales, many of them were morality plays of a Catholic/Christian culture in which women are the root of all evil, don’t mention that God holds Adam responsible in the Bible, another reason we aren’t suppose to read it for ourselves. We have to be “told” what to think to overcome our utter depraved natures? Oh, really, look who rules the world. No we are human just like men and aren’t saints either. All humanity is somewhere between the two extremes.

    But Hollywood does this also, not just Disney. The absence of women on the screen is like if you are female, you really aren’t very interesting and God help you if you are, don’t you know, the only thing worth anything about you is your looks? There are many movies where there are 9 or 10 top actors, and only one female part. Westerns, war movies, you don’t have to even have one female role to be found. If there is a role, she has to be sexy.

    The author of “Mary Poppins” gave Disney a run for his money but it wasn’t because he liked her that he produced the movie. It was his own good business sense. When he had a chance to leave her out of it, he did.

    But even at that, Mary Poppins was a kind of a witch also. Anything good in Mary Poppins was negated because she left the children, presumably to let the parents who didn’t give a rip about them to carry on.

    Disney follows in a long line of men who lay the worlds problems at the feet of women. He isn’t the first and isn’t going to be the last.