It gets old having to call out Disney’s bad behavior. For every story of them working on changing over to biodegradable containers on property, there are five more stories that make you cringe at their foolishness. And so, could you humor me for just a moment before we delve into yet another dismal Disney dialogue? Because here’s the deal: every day there are wonderful things happening on this Earth. Today, tens of thousands of people rose out of poverty. Today, billions of people did something kind for neighbors and strangers. We don’t get to report on that enough.
But that’s not why you came to this article. And as long as Disney keeps doing bad things, I’m going to keep writing about them to call them out. You came here because Disney keeps screwing up.
Let me introduce you now to the Stories Matter group at The Walt Disney Company. They’re the lovely bunch that call the Muppets a racist show, seem to be behind dismantling Splash Mountain, and all the other upcoming modifications to Disney content that nobody asked for, but we’re all going have to shut up and enjoy.
Some of the people associated with the Stories Matter initiative include:
Chris Nee, the lady responsible for creating Doc McStuffins and a far-left activist. If you’re a moderate, conservative, libertarian, or classical liberal, she’s probably not interested in the type of America you might wish for:
All of which to say, the Democrats need to stop thinking about what the Republican's response will be – they will rage no matter what. Dems need to focus on what they want, ask for it, make it happen, and keep moving forward.
— Chris Nee 🏳️🌈 (@chrisdocnee) January 23, 2021
Balls to the wall Dems. No playing both sides. For 2 years, you steamroll them, prosecute them, and push your agenda through.
— Chris Nee 🏳️🌈 (@chrisdocnee) January 6, 2021
AJ Rafael, a musician who retweets that white supremacy is “the American way”:
White supremacy is the American way. This country has never fully proven otherwise. Today’s events are completely in line with U.S. history.
— Raquel Willis (@RaquelWillis_) January 6, 2021
Steve Clay Hunter, an animator at pixar, who gets a lot right about China, but leans a very specific way:
— Steven Clay Hunter (@BubbleOfThunder) February 14, 2021
So, I’m going to stop there. Just know that the people on this “Stories Matter” group for Disney are left wing partisans, not people that come across as particularly mainstream. I’ve done a bit of research, and I can’t identify a single person of moderate, conservative, or classical liberal stance associated with the group. If there is a single person who isn’t far left of center, Disney, please let us know and we’ll amend this story.
You the reader can go look up some of the people on this group and then check out their social media posts. It’s bizarre. If you wanted to put moderate individuals on a board to ensure that sane decisions were made that most Americans would agree with, you would not choose these individuals. If I were running a business of any kind, I would never want an advisory panel that represented a fraction of my customers; any well-run organization would want input from people of various viewpoints. Apparently, the Stories Matter initiative lacks diversity in the most important area possible: thought.
Just to clarify, I am completely in favor of diversity on screen, and every sane person should be — I think that all people are infinitely valuable and important individuals worthy of respect and love. So far from being against what this initiative purports to fight against, diversity should be the norm 100%. I’m fully in agreement with the idea that we should have people of all backgrounds represented in film. The problem is that we’re getting into a belief system that is like a mental pathogen where people begin to think that disrespecting and hating others is how you show respect and love. It’s warped. It proposes that it’s about diversity and embracing one another, but it has a strong penchant for controversy, disunity, and hostility. I’m not a Republican, but I also don’t want to live in a world devoid of Republicans being represented in the culture.
These are the people who are in charge of labeling Disney’s past content, as well as directing its future content:
That’s why I find it disturbing that this Stories Matter group seems to be continuing just as we said it would, with the alterations to Peter Pan’s Flight in the Disney Parks. According to Inside the Magic, Disney quietly edited film of the ride to obscure the references to Tiger Lily and her tribe during the attraction. We think ISM is correct in their assessment that this means the ride is likely to be altered soon to remove those characters.
Now, removing Tiger Lily and the other “Indians” from Peter Pan isn’t a horrible thing that destroys important culture like the dismantling of Splash Mountain. In Splash Mountain’s case, those stories are based on actual African slave folklore in which Bre’r Rabbit represents a slave outsmarting the oppressors Bre’r Fox and Bre’r Bear. In their unending quest for absolute empathy, the Story Matters group is destroying the stories told by slaves so they can replace it with princess merchandise.
But at the same time, it’s also frustrating to see the story of Peter Pan maligned in the way it has been by this “Story Matters” cabal. Peter Pan is a story that takes place in Neverland, a fantastical location that represents the imaginations of children (specifically little boys) at the time the story was written. There are pirates, Indians, mermaids, and more. If it were written today, it would probably feature astronauts, dinosaurs… and some more pirates. While the tale probably doesn’t treat Native Americans with the respect they deserve in regards to their customs, the Story Matters group flat out gets the offensiveness wrong. Tiger Lily is drawn to be beautiful, just as almost all the children are drawn to be beautiful, while the adult “Indians” are drawn to be monstrous in the same way that the adult pirates are drawn to be monstrous — the idea is that children to Peter Pan are ideal while adults are huge and ugly. I mean, just look at Mr. Smee’s bulbous nose:
And yes, the song “What Makes the Red Man Red” is problematic, but one has to understand the history of the concept of “red man” before criticism. Most people don’t realize that Native American tribes and nations often self-identified as “red skin” people… sometimes because their warriors wore red paint and had redder skin due to the exposure to the elements, and sometimes because of a creation myth they held that told of their people being descended from the red-earth. It wasn’t so much a descriptor of their skin color as much as a connection to a source of cultural pride. Of course, understanding the complexity of history requires us to delve into nuance, and clearly that’s not something that Disney is interested in at the moment. Nuance doesn’t prevent Disney+ boycotts. So I understand getting rid of “What Makes the Red Man Red” and the figurines in the attraction. I don’t think it leads to a very good place for us down the road, however, because it isn’t the endgame.
So let’s say that the Story Matters people stopped where they are and all we had affect us were ridiculous Disney+ placards and the destruction of an e-ticket at American Disney Parks. Alright, not too big of a deal, right? Well, let me ask you something. When was the last time you heard of any group anywhere deciding that their work was complete and they would be happy to go without the job moving forward? Anybody have any examples of people putting themselves out of business when they don’t have to?
The chance that The Story Matters group is over is next to zero. As I’ve said before, Walt is on the horizon, and the man who was behind stories like Peter Pan, like Song of the South, like Dumbo… well, he’s not going to be held in glowing terms for long. And there are more things coming our way, more stuff where specific sociopolitical dogma overrides narrative in importance. It’s concerning that people who openly hope for harm to conservatives, and even moderates, are labeling, censoring, and directing content aimed at children. We’re not criticizing them for showing diversity on screen, we’re criticizing them for insanity like claiming beloved puppets are racist and unworthy of being watched by today’s kids.
So get ready. It’s not just Luke Skywalker that these people are after. It’s not just the Muppets. It’s not just Peter Pan, or Dumbo, or animated cats. This is the heart of the culture war in America, and the traditional political affiliations are out the window. You may not have wanted to deal with whether or not Kermit the Frog treated cultures and people groups with disdain, but you’re going to have to figure out how to deal with it, because the craziness is just getting started. Because in the minds of those who seek to alter our culture, the following video just might need a warning label:
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.