The twin theme parks at the center of the late Walt Disney’s fantastical imagination — Disneyland and Magic Kingdom — have found themselves twisted in a tale unfolding in the modern era.
In what could be described as a faith-fueled clap back, former worship leader-turned-activist Sean Feucht and a crowd of fellow conservatives and Christians — some of whom are former and even current Disney employees — gathered at The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California, Wednesday evening to protest the beloved brand’s perceived attack on parents through the targeting of their children.
Disney sparked parents’ ire when it issued a full-throated condemnation of a parental rights bill in Florida, home to the entertainment behemoth’s sprawling 25,000-acre Walt Disney World Resort — a space so vast it has its own zip code and so popular it’s home to what has been reported as the third busiest restaurant in the world.
“Parents across America were blindsided by the fact that Disney would enable people that are fighting for the sexualization of children, starting in kindergarten,” Feucht told CBN’s Faithwire. “We’re talking about 4-year-olds. It’s one thing to make content. It’s another thing to fight for those that want to groom and sexualize kids.”
Disney was already facing an uphill battle, with many middle-class families finding a trip to The Most Magical Place on Earth financially out of reach. Add to the mix the company’s perceived attack on its core audience — families with young children — and the nearly-100-year-old American mainstay could find itself in a whole new world of trouble.
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Alas, Disney CEO Bob Chapek chose to wade into the political fight.
Chapek initially refused to take a stance on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been mischaracterized by leftist groups and members of the media, who erroneously tagged the bill with the moniker “Don’t Say Gay,” despite the fact that the text of the legislation does not include the word “gay” and in no way outlaws its use. After taking heat for declining to intensely condemn the bill, which was recently signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the Disney chief executive waged a PR battle against the legislation, which prohibits educators from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation from pre-K through third grade.
In late March, The Walt Disney Company released a statement announcing its “goal” to see the parental rights bill “repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts,” adding it “remain[s] committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
Feucht, who lives in California, said he felt he had to do something to strike back against Disney’s empire.
“A lot of people are really fired up,” he said, noting it’s critical for believers to take a stand on this issue. “[I] think Christians sometimes — they get way too soft. They don’t realize that they’re powerful. We have a voice that can change things economically for Disney. We have a voice that can change things politically in this country. … We’re called to be salt and light in every part of society. So when issues like this happen, we don’t just back down; we have to stand up.”
The demonstration Wednesday comes amid sparring inside Disney from two warring factions: Those who feel the company ought to dig in even deeper in its opposition to the Florida bill and its embrace of LGBT identities and those who desire an apolitical brand focused on creating top-tier art and entertainment for families and children.
While some in the former camp have staged walkouts, demanding Disney vociferously rebuke the Florida law and legislative proposals like it, members of the latter camp have penned an anonymous open letter, arguing their employer has morphed into a bastion of “progressive orthodoxy” and urging the brand to reverse course, as they feel their sincerely held beliefs have “come under attack from our own employer, and we frequently see those who share our opinions condemned as villains by our own leadership.”
Feucht said he’s heard from current Disney staffers who are “very frustrated” by the climate within the company, which is being led by “woke corporate executives” who are “making decisions that don’t reflect the values of those in the company.” Some of those employees, he added, plan to attend the rally in Burbank at 6 p.m. on Wednesday.
“You have people who have been working at Disney their whole lives, their whole career, [and] they’re believers, they love God, they love America,” he explained. “They want to make content that’s safe for children and then Disney comes out with this crazy stance against DeSantis. They’re frustrated. And you know, I applaud them for their willingness to stand with us today. They might be risking their jobs, but they think it’s a more important issue.”
The father of four said Disney once “claimed to be a safe space” and a “pro-parent” company but has, in recent years, abandoned that mantle in favor of a pro-LGBT agenda that caters directly to children through animated shorts like “Out” and Disney+ series like “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” among others.
Feucht described this next chapter of Disney as “a massive departure from where they have been and where they’ve been known to be, and I say that as a parent who used to take my kids to Disney World.”
Nevertheless, the “Let Us Worship” singer is confident the ship can be righted.
“I think what you’re gonna witness today in Burbank is going to be a sign and a wonder to America,” he said. “I’m saying that in faith, because we haven’t had it yet, but the kind of traction that we’re getting shows that the majority of Americans are actually on our side, public opinion is on our side. Nobody wants … their kids to be taught this sexualized agenda. Parents do not want that.”
Feucht went on to urge people to visit parentsfightback.com to sign a petition, which states: “Tell Disney that our kids are our kids. They aren’t the property of the woke expert class who believe they know better how to raise our kids.”
You can watch a live stream of the rally below which took place Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. PST, 9:00 p.m. EST. We'll have more coverage of what happened at the rally later today.
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