More than creepy

This is more than creepy. The story behind the accusation that Walt Disney was both a misogynist and an anti-Semite and why it has suddenly surfaced once again. Via Hugh Hewitt:

Defending Mr. Disney

By Clark S. Judge: managing director, White House Writers Group, Inc.; chairman, Pacific Research Institute

As a child, I was fascinated by Walt Disney. Not by his cartoons. Not by the Mouseketeers. Not by Davy Crocket. But by Disney himself, the creator of the company that produced all those films and TV shows. So I was dismayed two weeks ago when, as you have no doubt heard, actress Meryl Streep accused Disney of being a “gender bigot” and an anti-Semite.

Ms. Streep leveled the charges in the course of presenting a best actress award to Emma Thompson for her work in Saving Mr. Banks, which is about Disney, the children’s book author P.L Travers and the making of Mary Poppins. Commentators have noted that Streep spoke midway through the voting period for the Oscars. In a Hollywood meets Washington move, Streep was, some suggest, attempting to deny Thompson that highest profile Best Actress nod, and if so, she succeeded. Thompson and her film failed to snag a single major slot on this year’s lists.

Of course, Streep said the other day that she was “shocked” at Thompson being bumped from the Oscar lists, “shocked,” some say, in a Claude Raines Casablanca style. Ms. Streep is among the five nominees.

But what about the charges? Was Disney misogynous or anti-Semitic?
Streep quoted from a 1938 letter describing the division of the tasks between male and female artists. Animation, as opposed to coloring and other support tasks, was confined to men. But if that in fact was Disney’s practice in 1938, it was short lived. The lead animator in Bambi, made four years later, was a woman. And assigning her wasn’t a matter of finding someone could be paid less. Disney’s rule was, as he put it, “If a woman can do the work as well, she is worth as much as a man.”

Regarding anti-Semitism, Disney had numerous Jewish friends, business associates and employees, supported a number of Jewish charities and in 1955 was named the Beverly Hill’s B’nai B’rith’s Man of the year.

But here is one reason I am telling this. It happens that some of those friends, business associates and employees were the parents of friends of mine.

As a child, one of my friends played in Disney’s office. His father was in charge of some critical operations at the Disney studios. His mother was the model for Snow White. When he had days at the office with Dad, he would at times be deposited in the boss’ office, where one wall slid open revealing another room filled with Disney character toys and dolls. Today, on a wall at his home, this friend has on display framed Disney cartoons and animation cells, several made especially for his father and mother.

As you might imagine, my friend and his wife bristled at Streep’s accusations, noting that she was recycling smears that originated with the communist attempts to take over Hollywood following the Second World War. This was the same period in which Ronald Reagan was fighting the communists in the Screen Actors Guild, first as a member of the union’s board, then as its president. When Reagan said at his first presidential press conference that the Soviets “openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is what will further their cause, meaning they reserve unto themselves the right to commit any crime, to lie, to cheat,” he was speaking in part from his experience with Hollywood communists. Disney, my friend and his wife attest, was a target of the kind of lying and cheating to which Reagan referred.

The father of someone else to whom I am close was an investor in Hollywood in the 1950s. He was also among the Americans who provided instrumental support for the foundation of the State of Israel. He had a “radar” for anti-Semitism, I am told, and no use for anyone in whom he detected it. He knew and liked Disney and may have invested in Disney’s movies.

Here is the other reason I am telling this story.

It strikes me that, in addition to (if reports are true) grotesque ambition, Ms. Streep reflects a certain warped mindset that is all too prominent in the fashionable circles of our time. I am talking about a predisposition to believe that anything iconically American is corrupt. That anyone who has achieved great things in this country did it through exploiting power differentials derived from gender and ethnicity. That nothing is deserved, except, perhaps, the fashionable circle’s own fashionable achievements. That no other life’s work can be credited, particularly if it comes from, say, a dirt-poor kid of itinerant parents who grew up in the unfashionable precincts of the Midwest and never received one of the fashionable circle’s fashionable degrees.

Ronald Reagan was such a kid. So was Walt Disney.

UPDATE: I have done a bit of research into the issue of Walt Disney’s anti-semiteism. This accusation has apparently been in part based on this 1929 Mickey Mouse cartoon, “The Opry House”, since it has a section in it where Mickey, in “his caricature of a Hasidic Jew”, dances to a Hasidic tune. You should watch it, and also what comes before (start at 3:40 if you aren’t interested in it all), to see just how vile this accusation is. On the basis of this 85 year old cartoon, animation aside, Disney not only was but still is a man ahead of his time.

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46 Responses to More than creepy

  1. Infidel Tiger

    I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Streep and Germaine Greer.

  2. C.L.

    To me, Meryl Streep has always exemplified the veracity of the saying, “if you can fake sincerity you can fake anything.” A few weeks ago I watched this documentary on actor John Cazale (Fredo Corleone), with whom Streep was romantically involve in the few years leading up to his early death from lung cancer. Much was made of her deep and abiding love for Cazale. Yet he died in March 1978 and she married a sculptor in September. Not much of a bereavement, frankly. She is also the idiot who deliberately played Margaret Thatcher as a crazy, issuing a formal statement criticizing the Iron Lady’s “hard-nosed fiscal measures” and “hands-off approach to financial regulation.” She honestly thinks she’s some kind of substantive intellectual and high artist – rather than a talented mimic with a gift for thespian phoniness.

    I can’t stand the ridiculous woman.

  3. Carpe Jugulum

    I find taking a person who spends their days playing ‘dress ups” hard to take seriously.

  4. MemoryVault

    I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Streep and Germaine Greer.

    It’s possible that Germaine Greer can act.

  5. Dan

    Most actors are full of it. Consider the lefty academies they attend to get a pass mark in role playing. They couldn’t get an Art Degree so they take the high road and pursue acting. They end up a hater because they have to work for the man in between acting roles. They think they are helping the world pitching in for Homes for Humanity.

    As we see in Davos, some of them think they are entitled to lecture and scorn the world because they were filmed in Super8 and earned a shit tin of cash. I don’t hear Jenna Jameison telling me how to do my shit. You get the impression that they think they actually wrote the film. And scored it. Streep probably considers herself to be above all that shit because in the process of researching the role playing of Thatcher, she came to a critical view of the woman. No doubt she thinks that her mansion in Connecticut Gives her special privileges to comment upon the world because she once researched it for a fillum.

  6. tomix

    Meryl Streep has got to eat.

    Faye Dunaway was the hottest actress in the world in 1976 when she starred in Network. Corruption in the media has mostly been a leftist taboo, and she has battled since. link

  7. boy on a bike

    An Oscar is worth a lot of money to the producers, the studio and the actors (if their contract includes a slice of the box office take. If not, they will be paid more for their next movie).

    Therefore, Streep taking out the competition simply makes her a nasty, money-grubbing………actress.

  8. blogstrop

    Oh yeah, that Disney guy and his empire. They’d say he didn’t build that.

    I still enjoy going back to the Donald Duck cartoons where he gets annoyed with someone or something and it escalates further and further. Or events, animals, kids and even inanimate objects conspire to ruin his day or night. The fluidity of the animations is also worth seeing many times – it is real artistry.

  9. blogstrop

    Streep has got to eat?
    If she isn’t very well set up financially (filthy rich) by now there’s something seriously wrong with her or her management.

  10. Demosthenes

    I don’t know anything about Disney’s attitude towards women, other than assuming he was a product of his time, and his supposed antisemitism rests principally on his membership of the MPAPAI. That’s guilt by association, hardly good evidence. The offensive caricatures of Judaism and its adherents in his early cartoons also reflect the social norms he operated within.

    And in the end, who cares? He’s dead and his influence is nil.

  11. Dan

    What about Henry Ford?

    Jew hater by association?

  12. tomix

    I’m suggesting that if Streep isn’t prepared to shill for elitist opinions, her celebrity may fade quickly.

  13. cuckoo

    From memory, the job of colouring cels in traditional animation (repetitive but requiring utmost accuracy) was almost exclusively done by women. In primary school, we were taken on a tour of the Mint when it was still in central Melbourne. The man leading the tour pointed out that all the workers doing quality control on the sheets of uncut bills were women, and he explained quite seriously that this was because ‘only women have the patience’ to do a job like this. Those were the days. Incidentally, I can’t remember Walt Disney speaking with the kind of southern drawl that Tom Hanks gives him.

  14. stackja

    The Truth about the “Hollywood Ten”
    But such figures are far outnumbered by the self-justifying and bitter memoirs of those who were denounced: Norma Barzman; Walter Bernstein; Alvah Bessie; Herbert Biberman; Conrad Bromberg; Lester Cole; Lillian Hellman; Howard Koch; Ring Lardner, Jr. (and now his daughter Kate); Donald Ogden Stewart; Dalton Trumbo; and Ella Winter.
    The publication of these works, and more fundamentally the cultural shift in Hollywood to domination by a bien peasant Left that started around 1960 and accelerated in the 1970s, has led to the lionization of the Unfriendly Ten as American “rebels” and martyred “non-conformists.”

    Although only one Hollywood Communist (the minor Hollywood producer Boris Morros) is known to have been a long-term NKVD spy, that does not mean that the Hollywood Communists would not have spied for the Soviet Union if they had been asked. Indeed, the recently decoded “Venona” documents suggest that Walter Bernstein, one of those blacklisted, had offered information to the NKVD more than once. This should not come as a surprise. When Arthur Koestler secretly joined the Communist Party of Germany in 1932, he remained a newspaper reporter, but he accepted as a matter of course that he would be asked to spy on his employers in the Ullstein newspaper corporation–the same people who had saved him from penury during the Depression.

  15. thefrollickingmole

    Why arent Commies as tainted as Nazis?

    Because they had better PR in the West, brought and paid for by vacuous shills like Streep.

  16. Judith Sloan

    Personally I think Mary Poppins is an all-time classic; my children just adored it and Julie Andrews was a true star.

  17. Turtle of WA

    I’ve never been able to tell the difference between Streep and Germaine Greer.

    It’s possible that Germaine Greer can act.

    There is no difference. They are both actresses, and both of the left. The fashionable modern left is just acting.

  18. MT Isa Miner

    Thanks Stackja. Interesting stuff.

  19. blogstrop

    I can’t remember Walt Disney speaking with the kind of southern drawl that Tom Hanks gives him.
    Quite right. His accent was unremarkable, and it got a lot of exposure as he used to introduce so many of the weekly shows.

  20. blogstrop

    Walt Disney’s Tour of Disneyland, introduced by the man himself.

  21. candy

    It’s just really poor taste to trash the memory of a deceased person, and Walt Disney meant a lot to many people round the world and brought a lot of happiness to people through his cartoons and films.

  22. Viva

    Streep quoted from a 1938 letter describing the division of the tasks between male and female artists. Animation, as opposed to coloring and other support tasks, was confined to men.

    For heavens sake – that was 1938! What else would you expect around that time.

  23. jumpnmcar

    His promotion of ” ASBESTOS ” in that film is proof of some foulness I’m sure.
    Obviously one of a long line of Mesothelioma deniers, lining his pockets with mining kickbacks.
    Another black hearted capitalist murderer!!!
    Oh, and Lefty animation is far better than Walts.
    ( just getting in before Hammy 🙂 )

  24. calli

    Streep has covered herself with glory on this one. If her intention was to push Thompson out of the running for an AA, and smear a long dead political opponent at the same time, then she is lower than a snake’s belly.

    But the wide eyed and supremely talented Thompson will have the last laugh. She will age gracefully and beautifully, but Streep, like Broomhilda, will find her nose slowly and inexorably approaching her chin. And to stop that happening will require some well publicised ‘work’.

  25. squawkbox

    For heavens sake – that was 1938! What else would you expect around that time.

    I don’t want to shock anyone, but it is also possible that Walt Disney did not support gay marriage, and he may have permitted smoking on Disney premises.

    But the wide eyed and supremely talented Thompson will have the last laugh. She will age gracefully and beautifully, but Streep, like Broomhilda, will find her nose slowly and inexorably approaching her chin. And to stop that happening will require some well publicised ‘work’.

    You are kidding, Calli. Emma Thompson is even more of a lefty airhead than Streep, and far less talented as an actress.

  26. squawkbox

    Sorry, scratch my last comment re Emma Thompson. I was getting her mixed up with Juliet Stephenson for some reason. Same nationality, generation, type of film etc.

  27. boy on a bike

    Streep quoted from a 1938 letter describing the division of the tasks between male and female artists. Animation, as opposed to coloring and other support tasks, was confined to men.

    Is Streep implying that Walt was the only businessman to do this sort of thing? If so, why was the feminist movement required to overcome this? If Disney was the only corporation in the US that was pigeon holing women into certain roles, then all that bra burning was a waste of time.

  28. calli

    ‘s okay, Squawk. I really don’t care what Thompson’s political leanings are (I think she has a bit to do with Greenpeace). I was simply narky at the bad sportsmanship angle.

    I wonder what Streep would have made of that Old Hollywood standby, the ‘Casting Couch’? 🙂

  29. Helen

    a predisposition to believe that anything iconically American is corrupt

    could also be writ with truth for Australian Lefty Beliefs

  30. Andrew of Randwick

    Walt Disney, Racism revealed

    Published on Dec 7, 2012
    From Secret Lives Walt Disney 2 of 6 on YouTube.

    Ex staff reveal how Walt Disney refused to have any black people working in his offices. Disney is portrayed as wholesome family entertainment but Walt Disney was racist, sexist and employed Mafia heavies to bust uniions . The images he portrayed and the stories he wrote reflected his viewpoints hence the racist imagery in Fantasia and the absence of a black princess until the 21st century

    4:00 Loving your wife, not looking at another women, and staying married for 40 years is strange and must be lambasted and twisted.
    6:30 Jew hating
    7:30 black/hindu hating
    Can’t see who made film, or what are its bona-fides. But once it’s upon youtube it’s Gospel.

  31. the issue of Walt Disney’s anti-semitism…

    Yes, as soon as Disney realised that the Sherman Brothers—composers of the songs in Disney’s “Mary Poppins, “The Jungle Book”, and “The Aristocats”—were Jewish, as were many other employees such as screenwriter Otto Englander, or animator Joe Grant, or his lawyer Gunther Lessing, he sacked them, shunned them, ensured they couldn’t work in Hollywood again—
    Oh, wait…

  32. Andrew of Randwick

    All this talk of Walt hating everybody reminds me of a quote: The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there
    Hollywood Jews were allegedly not that keen to help their German compatriots in the 1930/40’s. Money was to be made in selling films to Germany

    During WW2, a proxy battle waged in Hollywood over how to conduct business with the Nazis, how to cover Hitler and his victims in the Newsreels, and whether to address or ignore Nazism in Hollywood feature films.

  33. manalive

    The story that Disney was antisemitic is thought to have originated with Art Babbitt one of his most talented and highest paid animators and former friend who was Jewish and who was a leader of the 1941 animators’ strike at the Disney studios. They hated one another from then on.
    Snow White (1937) made an immense amount of money for Disney and he built a spanking new studio and facilities for his staff which grew too large for the personal contact. The strike was an attempt to unionise the studio animators which Disney said he would agree to if there was a ballot. About 60% of the animators crossed the picket line.
    The strike was a profound shock to Disney who previously was absolutely apolitical and it probably drove him to the right.
    One of his closest friends and associates throughout his life was Joe Grant (his only artists’ grant), also Jewish. With their wives they often attended functions together. The Grants said they never noticed the slightest hint of antisemitism.
    Walt Disney was a great artist, inventor, entrepreneur and self-made man in the best US tradition, a poor farm boy who was bankrupt at 21 but persisted, made good, and provided many talented people with employment and careers.
    Naturally the Left hated him and still do.
    His older brother Roy who was his partner in the business loved to tell the story that when they were kids on the farm they had to share a bed and every night Walt would piss on him, and he was still doing it.
    An example of his inventive brilliance can be seen in this very early clip where he combines animation and live action.

  34. gabrianga

    Streep quoted from a 1938 letter describing the division of the tasks between male and female artists. Animation, as opposed to coloring and other support tasks, was confined to men.

    Wonder who gave Comrade Streep the script for this one?

  35. Michael in Sydney

    Ending the Eastern (Muslim?) routine with the character changed to just an “old country style” Jew (not a Chosid) and changing the music to “Choson Kalah Mazeltov” – Bridegroom and Bride, mazeltov! in Yiddish – would have had all the Jews in the audience laughing their heads off – it’s actually an “in joke” by the animators.

  36. stackja

    MT Isa Miner
    #1166492, posted on January 25, 2014 at 2:38 pm
    Thanks Stackja. Interesting stuff.

    Few artistes can be trusted.

  37. one old bruce

    Emma Thompson said somewhere while watching a Streep portrayal ‘click click click’, in other words Streep’s acting is like a robot imitating a human. She may fool you the first time, but after that you can see how narrowly calculated all her moves are.

    If I know this by reading the ‘net, so does Streep. Choosing her to introduce Thompson then was bizarre. But I’ve no sympathy for either of them, they deserve each other.

  38. one old bruce

    Disney “employed Mafia heavies to bust unions”.

    Wait, haven’t ‘unions’ themselves often been at least represented by ‘Mafia heavies’?

    Who would you take to a confrontation with the Mafia, dancing hippies?

  39. blogstrop

    Here’s another clip – Walt Disney and Jack Benny – priceless!

  40. dan

    Huh – at 4:15 in the video, Mickey is briefly dancing a sort-of-Jewish but just as much Russian dance, to a Jewish/Yiddish traditional tune, “Chassan kalah mazeltov”, i.e. Congratulations to the bride and groom. It’s not even a caricature, just a mildly exotic dance just like the belly dancing that occurs before. In what way would this cause or even be associated with anti-Semitism (I hate that stupid term btw)??

  41. coz

    There’s nothing remotely anti-semitic about masonism (Disney was a mason), in fact you could say it was kabbalism for da masses.

  42. Helen

    I wonder where Streep stands on the issue of Palestine.

  43. Streep (as I suspect you already know, Helen) follows the standard “progressive” Hollywood line, of course, as does Emma Thompson, and has publicly lauded that famed pro-terrorist, “anti-Zionist” Vanessa Redgrave.

  44. Helen

    No I didn’t know, Deadman, but I suspected as much, typical Lefty using the same thing for both for and against their argument. Like freezing and heating both caused by global warming..

  45. In an article by Benny Avni (whereto Tim Blair referred today):

    Yes, Hollywood was founded by Jews. But it also cherished some particularly odious anti-Semites like Walt Disney (whose Nazi sympathies were airbrushed from Tom Hanks’ recent biopic).

    Disney was particularly odious? Once these Hollywood types get an idea in their heads…

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