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Disney under attack from three directions

The Walt Disney Company is under attack from three directions – a State government, an aggrieved actress, and now Elon Musk himself.

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The Walt Disney Company, facing a proxy fight for control of its Board of Directors, recently lost serious legal ground. A Florida judge dismissed their lawsuit against the State of Florida over the cancellation of their Grand Duchy, i.e., the Reedy Creek Improvement District. But that does not tell half the story of the company’s woes. An actress, summarily dismissed over a gross misinterpretation of a social-media post, is suing, ostensibly for her old gig back. Elon Musk, head of X (formerly Twitter, where the actress posted the “offending” message), has hired her attorney and is paying the expenses of her civil complaint. Now Musk has launched a direct attack on Disney’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies. Furthermore, he is using inside information to make his point. Speculation is rife whether he will jump into the proxy fight himself.

Where Disney stands

On January 31, Judge Allen Winsor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida (Talahassee Division), ruled that Disney lacked standing to sue the State for dismantling the Reedy Creek Improvement District and establishing the Central Florida Tourism Improvement District in its stead. The company alleged that Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) was retaliating against it after it opposed publicly an anti-grooming bill. (The full title is “Parental Rights in Education Act,” but critics call it the “Don’t Say ‘Gay’ Bill.” The reason: its thrust is to prevent the active recruitment of children into the Alphabet Soup constellation of lifestyles.) On February 1, Disney appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. There the case rests. (See docket page at District Court level. The docket page at the Eleventh Circuit is not yet available.)

Then on Tuesday (February 6), Actress Gina Carano, whom Disney and its subsidiary Lucasfilm dismissed from a then-running streaming series (The Mandalorian), announced her filing of a lawsuit against Disney and Lucasfilm. She left this long-form post telling her story.

Jim Hoft at The Gateway Pundit posted this article containing embedded photographs from some since-deleted posts on X (formerly Twitter). Carano also left this post on Instagram:

Jews were beaten in the streets, not by Nazi soldiers but by their neighbors…even by children. Because history is edited, most people today don’t realize that to get to the point where Nazi soldiers could easily round up thousands of Jews, the government first made their own neighbors hate them simply for being Jews. How is that any different from hating someone for their political views.

In contrast, Pedro Pascal – who played the always helmeted title character – routinely compared Donald J. Trump’s supporters to National Socialists. Yet he got away with it. He has since deleted the posts in question, but Jim Hoft preserved screencaps and makes them available.

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Selective application

Disney’s problem is obvious: selective application of work rules, the law, or whatever “law” leftist think should exist. At the time, Disney accused her of “denigrating people based on her cultural and religious identities.” That’s flatly false. What the “Woke Left” objected to, was saying that Republicans, especially Trump supporters, were coming in for the same treatment as the Jews did beginning with Kristallnacht. In other words, Carano compared the Woke Left to the National Socialists and their “willing executioners” of that day. Given the Woke Left’s reaction to the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, that comparison seems on-target.

Ms. Carano didn’t bother suing then, because she couldn’t afford it. Instead she concentrated on rebuilding her career, making movies with Ben Shapiro’s Daily Wire Studios. But several things happened after that. First, Elon Musk bought Twitter, and subsequently renamed it X. Second, he released records of Twitter’s State actor activities to several journalists, once on the left but today … disavowed. Third, he relaxed the Twitter (now X) Rules. Fourth, he declared that if anyone could show that he or she suffered wrongful dismissal, rejection of higher-education application, or the like, over anything he or she posted to X, he, Musk, would pay for their expenses to sue any applicable defendants. Which is what Elon Musk is now doing in Gina Carano’s case.

Many influencers gave loud cheers – including “Overlord DVD,” who speculated that the real threat of the lawsuit went beyond any judgment she sought.

Elon Musk goes on further attack

But Musk apparently is doing more. Later the same day Gina Carano announced her lawsuit against Disney, Musk released the company’s “General Entertainment Content Inclusion Standards.” He called it “mandatory, institutionalized racism and sexism.” As bad as that screencap was, he discovered more early this morning, thus turning the post into a thread:

Reaction was universally positive toward Musk’s message and negative toward Disney. Libs of Tik Tok started this thread:

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Other threads appeared, making the same point: that Disney’s content is more like reeducation than entertainment. This thread began with the “Re-imagine Tomorrow” conference:

This began with a pointed cartoon making the direct comparison between reeducation and entertainment:

This thread pointed out that the U.S. Forest Service has similar plans to Disney regarding hiring:

The point of this thread might or might not be accurate:

What could happen to Disney?

Elon Musk has been at war with Disney ever since they canceled all advertising on Platform X. In November, Musk addressed himself to Disney CEO Bob Iger, using very ungentlemanly language. Then in December 2023, Musk warned the company that they might lose subscribers if they “boycotted” X. In reply to a satirical piece about the company losing millions of subscribers overnight, Elon sent this post:

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He meant his message to be plain: that the company would be cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Now, by funding Gina Carano’s lawsuit (and finding her an attorney), Musk has opened up a new front against Disney. With regard to Libs of Tik Tok’s question: as others have pointed out, Elon need not buy all of Disney. (Not that he could afford it.) All he need do is buy a hefty share of the outstanding stock, then give Nelson Peltz his proxy. Peltz could take it from there.

More to the point, his criticisms of Disney echoes those of many others – and his criticisms of other “Woke-ism” examples. He once called that mind-set a mind virus.

What attitude the late Walt Disney might have taken is an open question. Nevertheless, Walt Disney emphasized quality and compelling content. Those things have lately been sorely lacking at the company and its subsidiaries. Perhaps Nelson Peltz can turn it around, if he can take control of the company’s Board of Directors. Elon Musk could help. Only time will tell.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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