Walt Disney racism in France

From French daily L’Humanité:

by Emilie Rive

Mickey Mouse Racism

Translated Thursday 12 November 2009, by Gene Zbikowski and reviewed by Gene Zbikowski

On Nov. 4, SOS Racisme, the French anti-racist NGO founded in 1984, published its report on companies that keep files on their employees’ ethnic identity and referred the case of Eurodisney to the courts. The entertainment industry giant requires that 80% of its temporary workers look “European.”

A “bombshell.” That is the word used by Patrick Karam, the inter-ministerial delegate for equal opportunity for French citizens from the overseas départements and territories, to describe the report submitted to him by the Fédération nationale des Maisons des potes and SOS Racisme.

The subject is an explosive one: the practice of keeping files on the ethnic identity of people seeking housing or a job.

Cynically, one might say that with this racism, Disneyland Paris follows in the footsteps of the founder of the Disney empire. Walt Disney, like that other well-known United States capitalist, Henry Ford, was on the far Right of US politics.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Secret Lives. Walt Disney (1 of 6)

A revelation of the darker side to Walt Disney’s character looking at his racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist tendencies which finally led to a pathological hatred of communists and an active particpation in McCarthy’s House Committee on Un-American Activities.

Here come the ofter 5 parts.

Eurodisney money problems: here.

Henry A. Giroux, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: “Walt Disney’s testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee on October 24, 1947 – in which he declared, ‘Everybody in my studio is one-hundred-percent American,’ while he also named a number of former employees who had organized a labor strike as ‘Communists’ – signified the culmination of a long-standing relationship of collaboration between the Walt Disney Company and the American government. Disney told the committee that he felt the best strategy for safeguarding ‘all of the good, free causes in this country, all of the liberalisms that really are American’ would be to uncover the ‘un-American’ labor activists who had infiltrated the motion picture industry and had propagated their Communist ‘ideologies,’ which in turn were directly responsible for activities such as the 1941 strike at the Disney studio in Burbank, California”: here.

I’ve read artist and animator Bill Peet’s autobiography, which offers up a fairly hairy portrait of working with Walt Disney in the early days of the company’s animation golden age. And at the National Board of Review Awards, Meryl Streep, who was presenting an award to Emma Thompson for playing P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, a Disney movie that’s at least partially about the greatness of Walt Disney, pointed out that the company he built wasn’t exactly warm and fuzzy in other ways. Specifically, it locked women out of creative work on animation. Streep, in making that point, referenced a 1938 rejection letter Mary Ford received from the company–on Snow White stationery, no less–when she applied for an animating job: here.

12 thoughts on “Walt Disney racism in France

  1. Disneyland Paris worker dies in apparent accident

    (AP) – 2 hours ago

    PARIS — Police say a cleaning man at Disneyland Paris amusement park has died after a ride he was working was accidentally turned on.

    The 53-year-old employee of a park subcontractor was severely injured while working on the “It’s A Small World” attraction and taken by helicopter to a hospital where he died.

    Police say a preliminary investigation indicates the worker got trapped beneath a boat on the ride when it was inadvertently turned on before dawn Wednesday.

    A Disneyland Paris spokesman said the ride has been closed until further notice as the police investigation continues.

    The park is one of Europe’s biggest tourist attractions.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


  2. Disney allows staff to sport beards

    UNITED STATES: Workers at Disney’s theme parks will be allowed to grow beards and goatees for the first time ever.

    Disney had prohibited all facial hair on its theme park workers since Disneyland opened in California in the mid-1950s.

    The company revised its policy in 2000 to allow moustaches, provided they were grown on holiday and not at work.

    But a Disney spokeswoman announced on Monday that starting from February 3 beards, moustaches and other facial growth will be allowed.



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