Sunday, February 12, 2012

Addressing The Myth Of Walt Disney

We had earlier an interview with Diane Disney Miller. Now along comes more news coverage with her, and her attempts at dismissing some of the myths about Walt Disney.

"There are a lot of ugly myths out there," his grandson, Walt Disney Miller, told me recently. Another is that Disney was a fascist and anti-Semite. There is no evidence whatsoever that this was true, although Disney was an arch conservative and Republican who waged a bitter battle with unions at his studio in the 1940s. Disney also testified during the U.S. Congress' infamous Communist witchhunt run by the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC).

"There are a lot of myths out there and I don't think you hear that about a lot of other people," says Diane Disney Miller, Disney's only surviving daughter. "I've never heard that Bing Crosby was frozen."
It also includes the accusation that Walt was antisemitic, which I've already mentioned quite a while back.

As for accusations of fascism and anti-Semitism, Disney Miller says that began during the labour dispute which crippled Walt Disney Studios in 1941.

"That was the strike," she says. "That was a smear thing and that was a tactic of Herbert Sorrell and that element."

Sorrel was a leading union organizer at Hollywood studios during that era. He was instrumental in getting the new Screen Cartoonist Guild to rally against Disney and his paternalism.

The accusations have stuck for decades, much to Disney Miller's chagrin. "People want to believe the worst."

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