The Walt Disney Corporation famously bills its amusement parks as “the happiest place on Earth,” but inside the company’s headquarters in Burbank, California, a conflict is brewing. In the past year, Disney executives have elevated the ideology of critical race theory into a new corporate dogma, bombarded employees with trainings on “systemic racism,” “white privilege,” “white fragility,” and “white saviors,” and launched racially segregated “affinity groups” at the company’s headquarters.* * * * * * * *Multiple Disney employees told me the political environment at the company has intensified in recent months. There are “almost daily memos, suggested readings, panels, and seminars that [are] all centered around antiracism,” said one employee. The company is “completely ideologically one-sided” and actively discourages conservative and Christian employees from expressing their views. “I attended several [training sessions] at the beginning just to see what the temperature of the discussion would be and to gauge if I would be able to bring up my own objections in a safe way—safe meaning for my career. And I’ve continually gotten the unspoken answer: ‘no,’” said the employee. “It’s been very stifling to feel like everyone keeps talking about having open dialogue and compassionate conversations, but when it comes down to it, I know if I said one thing that was truthful, based on data, or even just based on my own personal experience, it would actually be rather unwelcomed.”Despite these internal warnings, there is no sign that Disney is slowing down its efforts to achieve ideological purity. The company recently fired actress Gina Carano for expressing a conservative viewpoint. Content managers have modified and added “content advisories” to films such as Dumbo, Aladdin, and Fantasia, which, according to an internal video I have obtained, executives have denounced as “racist content.” In the same video, executive chairman Bob Iger pledged that the company “should be taking a stand” on political controversies and will no longer “shy away from politics” in the future.Disney’s premise has always been to provide an escape for middle Americans, but its executives seem to harbor growing contempt for the very people who visit their amusement parks, watch their films, and buy their merchandise. Once known as the “Happiest Place on Earth,” Disney has now committed to becoming the “wokest place on Earth”—whatever the cost.
If there’s anyone who studies Disney’s amusement parks Kremlinologist-style, it will be fascinating (and depressing) to see how management’s uber-wokeness manifests itself there, particularly in sections such as Liberty Square.