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The Walt Disney Company Discuss Walt Disney the Person and Rumors... in the Miscellaneous Disney forums; I've been getting a lot of flack at a different message board I go to. Alot of stuff about Walt Disney being racist, anti-semitic, communist, etc... How do I respond ...
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    rosworms's Avatar
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    Walt Disney the Person and Rumors...

    I've been getting a lot of flack at a different message board I go to.
    Alot of stuff about Walt Disney being racist, anti-semitic, communist, etc...

    How do I respond to this? Does anyone have any good information that I can cite to show that Walt's actually a good guy?
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    It's not much, but this is a link to the Urban Legends reference pages, which does a great service in debunking a lot of persistent non-truths about Uncle Walt.

    Urban Legends Reference Pages: Disney (Walt Disney)

    As much as I'm loathed to admit it, doing anything constructive to disprove accusations of anti-semitic tendencies, racism, or communism (on behalf of pretty much anyone, on the Internet or elsewhere when it comes to folks who just love to make noise for the sake of making noise) would probably be an uphill battle at best, though. That's some mighty tough territory you're headin' into, pilgrim--I'd recommend takin' the high road on this one. If it helps any, remember the sage words of fellow forum warrior Travis (the7thAve around these parts) who once reminded me that engaging in a drawn-out argument on the Internet is much like competing in the Special Olympics; in the sense that even if we "win," we're still, well........special.

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    I have read several books about Uncle Walt. Since he did not write an autobigraphy all that is written about him is hearsay. You have to take into account that he lived from 1901 to 1966, a very tumultuous time in this country. Like any person Uncle Walt had role models in his life who shaped the man he would become. Trying to judge a person is like trying to tell if the glass is half full or half empty. In reality, only Uncle Walt knows what was in his heart and no one can ask him now. Several things are certain about Uncle Walt, he was a visionary and did not suffer fools. He could be gentle and kind to his family, and cruel and uncaring to his employees, or so it seemed. As for all the rumors, why can't we let Uncle Walt rest in peace?
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    Walt bashing is a vocation for some folks, no he wasn't perfect, no one is. On average the efficacy of enaging in debate is usually zero because facts rarely figure into the matter and have even less impact on those enaging in the rant. Equate bashing to a smell if it's getting too "fragrant" just vacate the room for a bit.
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    If you read "How to be like Walt, capturing the Disney magic every day of your life" it mentions this. There are interviews of people who knew him that of course dispute this. Walt said it himself that he was not perfect. He drank, cussed and smoked. People will say what they want to say. These are probably the same people that can't believe we go to WDW more than once.
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    Since Walt had a very diverse cast and crew helping with the original DL and was never quoted or captured on film saying anything disparaging about any particular race, class, gender or nationality; and since WDW is a leader in diversity and accpetance of various lifestyle choices, I would have to say these people are either relying on incorrect information or they are just really poorly informed. If ignorance is bliss, there ought to be thousands of happy people out there. As for the communist thing, that is probably left over from the (very) old McCarthy era rumors and gossip and not based on reality but based on fear and blacklists. It is useless to try to explain, inform or argue with these folks so just don't waste your time. Why stoop to their ill informed level.

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    One thing I can say for sure...I started working for WDW in 1980 as a CM in entertainment. The atmosphere I found in the company of creativity, enjoyment and sense of extended family that was there would never have existed if Walt had actually been the evil, cruel, tyrannical dictator that some would have us believe. I think as a perfectionist he was probably difficult to work for, and could be rough, but not the monster that books like "Hollywood's Dark Prince" and "The Disney Version" would lead you to think. The company would never have been what it was in 1980 if he had been that way. I think a lot of the quotes are out of context in those books.

    But that is just my opinion, and for what its worth, I know that I can't convince anyone, especially over the Internet, of the truth or lack of truth in it.

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    There's a quote I was trying to remember and it escapes me, but the following fit well too.

    There are three sides to any argument; your side, my side, and the right side.

    Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference.

    Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

    The trouble with ignorance is that it picks up confidence as it goes along.

    I found my quote:
    It's unsportsmanlike to engage in a battle of wits with someone who is obviously unarmed.
    Last edited by mini-V; 01-30-2008 at 05:48 AM. Reason: added text
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    Diane Disney Miller and her family developed the CD-Rom "Walt Disney - An Intimate History of the Man and His Magic" in 1998 to specifically set the record straight about her father. There was even a segment of the story where she addressed the "garbage" that was being written about Walt Disney.

    The best books, in my opinion, that show the truest portrait of Walt are Neal Gabler's "Walt Disney - The Triumph of an American Imagination" and Katherine & Richard Greene's " Inside the Dream - The Personal Story of Walt Disney".

    I would stay away from Leonard Mosely's book which has been discredited since it was published.
    Last edited by wdw4us2; 03-13-2008 at 08:44 PM.
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