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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Walt Disney: Was he anti-Semitic?

Walt Disney   (1954 NASA Photo)
With all this talk going around about Walt Disney being anti-Semitic, it's no wonder that the Oscar crowd did not see fit to save
Mr. Banks.

But talk is often cheap.  The key question is:  Was Walt Disney really anti-Semitic?  Or is this just another ploy to discredit a dead man who can't defend himself?

Stephen Propatier of Skeptoid set out to answer that first question.  In his search for cold hard evidence, he found the following:  Disney did meet with Nazi-propaganda film maker Leni
Riefenstahl at least once; he was a member of the "anti-communist, anti-fascist, and Anti-Semitic" Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (MPAPAI); and he did personally
approve the inclusion of anti-Semitic caricatures during the early years of his studio productions.

Although Propatier readily admits that there is enough evidence to suggest that Disney did have some anti-Semitic tendencies, he then emphasizes that these tendencies were about par for those times.  Disney likely only met with Riefenstahl once, and this meeting was probably much more about filmmaking than it was about politics.  

Propatier also explains that "it was common for influential members of the entertainment business" to be associated with MPAPAI.  Other members of MPAPAI included Clark Gable, Gary Cooper, Ginger Rogers and (!) Ronald Reagan – just to name a few…  Ironically, Warner Brothers was also prone to turning out anti-Semitic caricatures.

Propatier concludes:  …I think it is unfair to quantify Walt Disney as rabidly Anti-Semitic all things being equal.    

Copyright January 19, 2014 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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