Debunking the Disney Disinformation

(L-R) Emma Thompson as P L Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney Emma Thompson as P L Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney

For years, the accusations of antisemitism against Walt Disney have come from sources on the Left with no proof. On the contrary, biographer Neal Gabler has noted that none of Disney's employees could recall his ever making antisemitic slurs. Gabler also said of the antisemitic rumors surrounding Walt:

That's one of the questions everybody asks me... My answer to that is, not in the conventional sense that we think of someone as being an antisemite... Walt himself, in my estimation, was not antisemitic, nevertheless, he willingly allied himself with people who were antisemitic, and that reputation stuck. He was never really able to expunge it throughout his life.

Walt Disney befriended the Jewish community in Los Angeles. One Jewish Chronicle writer noted:

...the supposed antisemite was a frequent contributor to Jewish charities — the Yeshiva College and the Jewish Home for the Aged among them. And in 1955, he was made Man of the Year by the Beverly Hills Lodge of B’nai B’rith...

There just isn’t any serious evidence of antisemitism. And this is not a charge that can be waved about without proof. Jews can enjoy Walt Disney. He was an inspiration.

As for Streep's accusation of misogyny, I simply could not find any proof. Her quote from Ward Kimball, who maintained a long friendship and working relationship with Walt despite their political differences, sounds too much like a tossed off joke as opposed to serious proof that Walt was a woman-hater. Also, the letter Streep cites doesn't appear to ring true. From the earliest days of the studio, Walt and Roy Disney hired women to help with the animation process. Some of the women Disney hired went on to esteemed positions in production and Imagineering - most notably Mary Blair and Phyllis Hurrell.