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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Animated News: Walt Disney Speech Controversy

Walt Disney
I first heard about the anti-Disney comments made by Meryl Streep when an article by Animation Magazine showed up in my e-mail's inbox the other day. At this point, I'm sure we've all heard about Meryl Streep's speech at the National Board of Review gala last Tuesday where she made some remarks about Walt Disney being a misogynist and an anti-Semite. If you haven't, go ahead and check out the Animation Magazine article for a quick summary--I'll wait.

Now rather than immediately react based upon excerpts from a speech and a blog post, I recommend first reading what she said at the event. After looking around on the Internet, I believe her speech is presented in its entirety on this Vanity Fair website article.

Next, the following are two rebuttal articles, the first from Floyd Norman, an African-American man who worked for, and knew, Walt Disney personally; the second is a point-by-point, "fact-checking" article from Amid Amidi, the owner/editor-in-chief of Cartoon Brew who, according to him, is the "family-approved biographer of Ward Kimball". You can read Mr. Norman's article here, and Mr. Amidi's article here.

Reading through the comments on this issue, there's a lot of vitriol being thrown about between the two camps. Personally, I carry very strong opinions on a great number of subjects and this one is no different, so it would be very easy of me to jump on the bandwagon and make a statement on what was said at the event--as well as what was written in the two rebuttal articles. However, I don't want to influence anyone's opinion either way on this subject. Rather, it is my hope that instead of getting caught up in the maelstrom of personal and public opinion, everyone would first read Ms. Streep's speech then read the rebuttal articles linked to in this blog post. Once you've done so, use them as a springboard to do your own research into the issues raised and come to your own conclusions regarding the validity (or lack thereof) of Ms. Streep's statements about Walt Disney.

No matter who you agree with, freedom of thought is the only real freedom we have. So do your homework and then, to paraphrase 'Brian', "think for yourselves!"

* image from Wikipedia entry on Walt Disney.