|Contents:||Families Shocked by Homosexual Celebration|
|Boycott Cards Available|
|Insiders say Hunchback is "testing the limits"|
|Disney takes high profile on ABC|
|First quarter loss at Disney|
|Disney's deal with ABC develops deep domain|
The first weekend in June is the unofficial beginning of summer vacation when kids bolt out of their school rooms, pile into the family mini van and head off for the annual respite from the day-to-day grind.
This year many pointed their compasses toward Disney World in Orlando, Florida, unaware of an impending cultural collision with a two-faced "family entertainment" company that welcomed hordes of homosexuals to celebrate their sexual perversions at "The Sixth Annual Gay and Lesbian Day at the Magical Kingdom that Walt Built."
The 1996 "Gay Day at Disney" celebration provided few surprises for those who have watched the infamous gathering over the years. But for the unsuspecting families who happened into the lair of depravity, shock would be an understatement, according to Rusty Pugh, an AFA reporter who witnessed this year's event. Pugh said he saw several families crestfallen as they entered the Magic Kingdom and found themselves surrounded by male and female homosexuals displaying their affections and stereotypical "gay" attitudes. "Families were forced to be subjected to this. They didn't have any choice," said Pugh in regard to the lack of prior warning families received.
Although Disney does not officially sponsor the celebration, the company seems to accommodate and even welcome it. An internal correspondence from Clyde Min at Disney says: "Each Resort has been asked to supply one Management Team Member to assist with the Gay Pride Day in The Magic Kingdom on June 1, 1996. I am looking for any volunteers who may be interested in helping with this event." Two years ago Disney employees who claimed to be volunteers served as greeters wearing "Gay Day at Disney" T-shirts and handing out a pamphlet promoting the event and asking homosexual patrons to write a letter to Disney to encourage them to allow the event to continue. A report in a New York homosexual newspaper concerning the 1994celebration said, "Even Disney has been exceptionally helpful this year."
Since its beginning six years ago, the homosexual celebration has been organized by Doug Swallow, a homosexual activist in Orlando. In earlier years a group of homosexuals who call themselves "Digital Queers" was involved.
Another revealing first hand account of this year's celebration came from "Disney Diary," a column in the Orlando Weekly newspaper. In it writer Jeff Truesdell recounts the day and the invasion of red shirts -- the traditional color of choice for the homosexuals during their day at Disney. The column implies that many Disney World workers are homosexual. Truesdell writes: "Take away the gay workers...and Disney World becomes the planet's largest self-service theme park." The newspaper also describes an occasion when a parking attendant, upon seeing the crimson-attired passengers in one vehicle, waved them through without collecting the $5 parking fee. Even the afternoon Disney parade down the theme park's Main Street --a favorite family event -- portrayed strong homosexual overtones, according to Truesdell. The performers in the parade, paid by the company that claims to have no connection to the homosexual celebration, were decked out in -- you guessed it -- red costumes.
Disney's claim not to sanction the event could more easily be believed if the company were consistent in applying policies concerning groups that come en masse to their theme parks. Disney claims it can't deny admission to someone only because he belongs to a group which might upset other patrons.
However, dozens of gang members visiting Disneyland in California were evicted recently after they entered the park wearing gang colors. Kenneth Green, Director of Corporate Communications, said the company was concerned the group might intimidate or invoke fear in the hearts of mainstream patrons.
Even families who knew about the homosexual event before making the trip to Orlando were met with problems. David Caton of AFA of Florida reports instances where families who tried to change their reservations were told they would not be given a refund on their deposits.
AFA is making it easier for churches and individuals to participate in the Disney boycott by supplying a special two-part boycott card. The cards are available in lots of 100 for only $1.50.
One part of the tear-off card is to be mailed to Disney Chairman Michael Eisner. It contains a simple message expressing concern over the direction Disney is heading. The other part of the card provides a quick reference list of key businesses and holdings of the Walt Disney Company.
A priority in Disney's current philosophy of movie-making seems to be "pushing the envelope." Roughly translated, that means including as much sexual content as possible and defending it with high sounding arguments about artistic integrity, but still having the public buy it in huge numbers.
Case in point --the new animated film The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Composer Alan Menken is part of the team that scored the movie and he describes one song in the movie, Hellfire, like this, "With Hellfire, we weren't just expanding the envelope, we were taking it into another room. It really tests the limits of what we can get away with. In one song, we have Frollo sing the church liturgy, but also sing of twisted sexual fantasies: Hellfire, Hellfire, there's a fire in my skin. This burning desire is turning me to sin."
The drifting of Disney from its family friendly heritage does not come without the knowledge of the people in charge. In fact, it seems to be encouraged from the pinnacle of Disney's corporate ladder, Chairman Michael Eisner. Actor Tony Jay, who supplies the voice for the character Frollo talks about the way his character was scripted. "It's quite graphic. I told Michael Eisner, Iím surprised how far they're going with Frollo. He said to me, 'We can't keep making Dumbo forever.' " Composer Menken also remembers a conversation with Eisner: "He said even if it goes to PG, he would not compromise the material."
Esmeralda, the female lead in Hunchback, is described by USA Today as a voluptuous, raven-tressed Gypsy dancer who draws a reaction of "...pure unadulterated lust" from Frollo. Not surprising, considering Demi Moore (Striptease) is providing the voice for Esmeralda.
Perhaps one of the most telling indictments of the film comes from another of the actors involved in the project. Jason Alexander, who provides the sounds for a gargoyle character, has this to say about the film: "Disney would have us to believe this movie's like the Ringling Brothers, for children of all ages. But I won't be taking my four-year-old."
It's wholesome family entertainment, as Disney sees it.
USA Today, 6/14/96, Entertainment Weeky, 6/21/96
Disney's control of the ABC Television network is an ominous prospect that bears watching. Will Disney use ABC to push its agenda like it uses Miramax and Hyperion Press (published two pro-homosexual books)? One thing is for certain, Disney will have a say in the content that airs on ABC.
Many shows on the network have managed to work references to vacationing at Disney World into the script. ABC even went as far as building an entire evening's programming around the Disney vacation theme.
In June, ABC created a show called Disney's Most Unlikely Heroes, which analyzed several of Disneyís characters and served as a promotional tool for the Hunchback of Notre Dame movie. Itís obvious Disney intends to cross promote between its various properties, and with control of ABC, ESPN, and a hand in Lifetime and A&E, Disney has unequaled access to deliver whatever message it wants to.
Is Disney in trouble? Not yet, but the red ink is starting to trickle at the company. Struck by a $25 million loss in the first quarter of 1996, Disney is starting to downsize in its live action film division following financial reports that saw movie profits drop 35% in 1995.
Joe Roth, chairman of Disney Studios, says the company will cut its output of live action films in half over the next year and may drop releases further in subsequent years. Disney is also expected to shut the door on its Hollywood Pictures division and make some changes at the controversial Miramax Film unit.
The Walt Disney Company is, for all practical purposes, two companies in one with its acquisition of Capital Cities/ ABC. Disney and its subsidiaries now own:Film, Music Media:
The companies on this list were compiled from documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by Disney and Capital Cities/ABC and from the 1995 edition of the Directory of Corporate Affiliations.