Shareholder Slams Disney over China Human Rights Hypocrisy at Annual Meeting

Mickey Mouse greets visitors at Shanghai Disney Resort as the Shanghai Disneyland theme park reopens following a shutdown due to the coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai, China, May 11, 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

A shareholder of the Walt Disney corporation slammed the company Wednesday for its hypocrisy in advocating for domestic social justice while maintaining a strong business relationship with China, a regime notorious for human rights atrocities.

During the annual meeting Wednesday, the shareholder, speaking on behalf of the National Legal and Policy Center, said he and others are asking for an annual report on due diligence on human rights probing the company’s ethically problematic business engagements.

“The Disney board of directors says that’s a waste of the company’s time and money. This multi-billion dollar corporation fritters away millions of dollars of the company’s resources on social justice initiatives for things like erasing symbols of our nation’s history, forcing abusive racial training programs on employees, and adding content warnings to classic films like Dumbo and Fantasia,” he declared.

“They have time and money to film Mulan in the part of communist China with among the most disgusting and egregious human rights violations in the world, in Xinjiang. Forced abortions, slavery, torture, and genocide are among the reported atrocities conducted under the authoritarian government, against the Muslim minority Uyghurs in Northwest China. The degree of evil in this region is so bad that it means you cannot trust anything that is produced there,” he added.

He suggested that Disney has so far ignored a shareholders’ resolution calling for a human rights investigation into the company’s deals abroad.

Despite human rights groups and members of both parties in Congress condemning China’s oppressive activities, Disney is worried about kowtowing to the regime to keep its market presence there,  he claimed.

“Disney thanks local authorities for their help in film’s credits,” he said.

“So while the rest of the corporate world is running away from the stigma of slavery, Disney is praising the local communists. Meanwhile, Disney executives say they will not produce any new films in Russia due to Vladimir Putin’s aggression against the Ukraine. Since when do ESG principles mean you get to support genocidal regimes in Asia but you must oppose colonial warmongering in Europe. Seems like cognitive dissonance to me.”

The shareholder cited other instances of what he described as Disney selling out to the Chinese Communist Party, such as ensuring an ESPN partnership with NBA China and Tencent “despite those entities’ well-known censorship.”

Disney has also scrubbed certain parts of episodes of The Simpsons and movies like Dr. Strange to omit references to China deemed unpalatable to the CCP,” he said.

The shareholder’s statement comes as Disney has increased the pressure on Florida governor Ron DeSantis to kill a bill just passed by the state legislature that would prohibit gender ideology and sexual orientation curriculum for kindergartners through third graders. DeSantis agreed Wednesday to meet with the CEO to discuss the matter, although a meeting has not yet been scheduled. The company pledged to donate millions of dollars to LGBTQ organizations on Wednesday.

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