Meryl Streep Lambasted Walt Disney in Front of Hollywood Elite

On anti-Semitism and gender bigotry

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Meryl Streep
Dan MacMedan / WireImage / Getty Images

When Meryl Streep took the stage this week at a dinner party filled  with the who’s who of Hollywood, what began as a tribute to Emma Thompson for her work in Saving Mr. Banks turned into a diatribe against the late Walt Disney.

Although Streep read a poem for her friend — “she’s practically a saint!” — titled An Ode to Emma, or What Emma is Owed, she also took the time to lambaste Walt Disney for his anti-Semitism and sexism at the National Board of Review dinner Tuesday, a precursor to the Golden Globes. Streep, Variety reports, read a letter that Disney, described as a “gender bigot,” sent to a female animator in 1938 that included the line: “Women do not do any of the creative work in connection with preparing the cartoons for the screen, as that task is performed entirely by young men.”

That and his association with an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group were left out of Saving Mr. Banks.

[Variety]

141 comments
Truth
Truth

Anti semitic means anyone who recognizes the hypocrisy of Jews and those who slavishly ignore the genocide and mass murder committed by people who just happen to be Jews aka Shabat Goys

pico
pico

Meryl went to Yale or Harvard, was in a college play seen by the owner of an important theater in New York. He offered her the chance to come see him when she graduated. (Head, maybe?) Had she paid her dues in non-union worlds, making it work, for ten years, she might have been funnier. As is, she was funny for a few seconds in Postcards, literally just a few seconds. She should have worked the boards instead of being sheperded, spoilingly, to the top projects.

tomcrossman
tomcrossman

(Disney named names incidentally; four people who had been involved in unionizing his studio, 2 of whom were Jewish). 


Walt left the group in the 50's.   I don't know about the Jewish member's comings and goings.  Disney started being referred to as anti-semitic at this time.  He financially supported many Jewish charities, which I assume began following this episode - but maybe I underestimate him (easy to do).  The Alliance itself officially disbanded in 1975.


It's as if  Disney was the only Alliance member.  Research the Alliance, and you usually find a picture of Walt.  When he's referred to as anti-semitic, being a member of this organization is considered the smoking gun.  Never is there any mention that this group counted Jews as members.  Or Ronald Reagan.  There's really very little  written about what the Alliance actually did, or didn't do, beyond its member's testifying.  I don't doubt it became an anti-semitic group but it was not founded as such.  If any of the members were alive, it would be an interesting conversation.


These are the charter members:


Ronald Reagan, Clark Gable, Hedda Hopper, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne, Ginger Rogers, Robert Arthur, Martin Berkeley, Ward Bond, Walter Brennan, Clarence Brown, Charles Coburn, Gary Cooper, Laraine Day, Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney, Irene Dunne, Victor Fleming, Cedric Gibbons,  Leo McCarey, James Kevin McGuinness, Adolphe Menjou, George Murphy, Fred Niblo, Ayn Rand, Morrie Ryskind, Norman Taurog,  King Vidor, Frank Wead and Sam Wood.


Ms. Streep didn't know the man; his great niece knew him when she was 5 years old.  But there are people alive today who actually did know him - they have great things to say about him as a human being - and they are the ones to be educating us about Disney.    In 20 years, there will be no one left who knew him personally- as an adult.  That's the shameful thing about Streep's comments.  She's dredging  up rumors  that may or may not be true.  Slandering a real person.  A great person.  As great as Walt Disney.


When Walt Disney died: the world mourned. 


There is an enormous amount of information out there about whether or not Walt was  a racist, sexist or anti-semite - quite interesting reading really.  Many people who've researched the facts don't think Walt was anti semitic - there are no smoking guns here.  For me, the jury's out.  



The world we know the world was a very, very different place if Disney hadn't lived - unrecognizable to us.  His is a legacy that has touched all or our lives.   A legacy that has touched Ms. Streep's life.  And her children's lives.  For the better.



Tom Crossman

tomwcrossman@gmail.com



Read more: Meryl Streep Lambasted Walt Disney in Front of Hollywood Elite | TIME.com http://entertainment.time.com/2014/01/09/meryl-streep-lambasted-walt-disney-in-front-of-hollywood-elite/#ixzz2qmlVG3Tr

tomcrossman
tomcrossman


I don't know if Walt Disney was anti-semitic or not.  In the  30's and 40's,  60% of the country was either xenophobic or down right anti-Semitic. That's important to remember.  Based on 2014 norms, it's easy to label anyone who died 50 years ago a sexist, racist and anti-semite.  By today's standards that's probably true.  But we're not talking about today.  Walt was an actual human being who died 49 years ago.  Having been born in 1901, the world was a very, very different place - unrecognizable to us.   But based on his life's work, there didn't seem to be a lot of room for hate.


This is the organization Ms. Streep was referring to when she said he "he founded and supported an anti-semitic industry lobbying group." 


The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals was founded in 1944, by Disney, Sam Wood and Leo McCarey, both film directors.  At least 3 charter members were Jewish; Cecil B DeMille, Morrie Ryskind and Ayn Rand, who wrote their publications.    Another charter member was Ronald Reagan


The purpose of the group was to fight  communism in Hollywood, as they believed there were subversive themes being inserted into movies to make American's communist sympathizers.    One mission of the group was to be friendly witnesses to the House Un American Activities Committee.  When the Committee investigated the motion picture industry, the vast majority of "friendly witnesses" were supplied by the Alliance.


(Disney named names incidentally; four people who had been involved in unionizing his studio, 2 of whom were Jewish). 


Walt left the group in the 50's.   I don't know about the Jewish member's comings and goings.  Disney started being referred to as anti-semitic at this time.  He financially supported many Jewish charities, which I assume began following this episode - but maybe I underestimate him (easy to do).  The Alliance itself officially disbanded in 1975.


It's as if  Disney was the only Alliance member.  Research the Alliance, and you usually find a picture of Walt.  When he's referred to as anti-semitic, being a member of this organization is considered the smoking gun.  Never is there any mention that this group counted Jews as members.  Or Ronald Reagan.  There's really very little  written about what the Alliance actually did, or didn't do, beyond its member's testifying.  I don't doubt it became an anti-semitic group but it was not founded as such.  If any of the members were alive, it would be an interesting conversation.


These are the charter members:


Ronald Reagan, Clark Gable, Hedda Hopper, Robert Taylor, Barbara Stanwyck, John Wayne, Ginger Rogers, Robert Arthur, Martin Berkeley, Ward Bond, Walter Brennan, Clarence Brown, Charles Coburn, Gary Cooper, Laraine Day, Cecil B. DeMille, Walt Disney, Irene Dunne, Victor Fleming, Cedric Gibbons,  Leo McCarey, James Kevin McGuinness, Adolphe Menjou, George Murphy, Fred Niblo, Ayn Rand, Morrie Ryskind, Norman Taurog,  King Vidor, Frank Wead and Sam Wood.


Ms. Streep didn't know the man; his great niece knew him when she was 5 years old.  But there are people alive today who actually did know him - they have great things to say about him as a human being - and they are the ones to be educating us about Disney.    In 20 years, there will be no one left who knew him personally- as an adult.  That's the shameful thing about Streep's comments.  She's dredging  up rumors  that may or may not be true.  Slandering a real person.  A great person.  As great as Walt Disney.


When Walt Disney died: the world mourned. 


There is an enormous amount of information out there about whether or not Walt was  a racist, sexist or anti-semite - quite interesting reading really.  Many people who've researched the facts don't think Walt was anti semitic - there are no smoking guns here.  For me, the jury's out.  



The world we know the world was a very, very different place if Disney hadn't lived - unrecognizable to us.  His is a legacy that has touched all or our lives.   A legacy that has touched Ms. Streep's life.  And her children's lives.  For the better.



Tom Crossman

tomwcrossman@gmail.com














I don't know if Walt Disney was anti-semitic or not.  In the  30's and 40's,  60% of the country was either xenophobic or down right anti-Semitic. That's important to remember.  Based on 2014 norms, it's easy to label anyone who died 50 years ago a sexist, racist and anti-semite.  By today's standards that's probably true.  But we're not talking about today.  Walt was an actual human being who died 49 years ago.  Having been born in 1901, the world was a very, very different place - unrecognizable to us.   But based on his life's work, there didn't seem to be a lot of room for hate.


This is the organization Ms. Streep was referring to when she said he "he founded and supported an anti-semitic industry lobbying group." 


The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals was founded in 1944, by Disney, Sam Wood and Leo McCarey, both film directors.  At least 3 charter members were Jewish; Cecil B DeMille, Morrie Ryskind and Ayn Rand, who wrote their publications.    Another charter member was Ronald Reagan


The purpose of the group was to fight  communism in Hollywood, as they believed there were subversive themes being inserted into movies to make American's communist sympathizers.    One mission of the group was to be friendly witnesses to the House Un American Activities Committee.  When the Committee investigated the motion picture industry, the vast majority of "friendly witnesses" were supplied by the Alliance.























WiseUp
WiseUp

P.S. For someone who was supposedly a Jew-hater, he sure surrounded himself and worked intimately with plenty of Jews. Take the Sherman Brothers: they practically lived in Walt's office during the creation of the songs for Mary Poppins, the 1964 NY World's Fair (remember that little ditty "It's a Small World After All"?) and many many other movies and Disneyland attractions. Let's not confuse mid-century crassness and insensitivity with anti-Semitism.

WiseUp
WiseUp

Parents complaining that Disney was sexist, then dressing and encouraging their daughters to be Disney princesses makes little sense.


Matty_Gamer
Matty_Gamer

Most males in the early 1900's had that mind set..different times and ages. For Streep to single him out like that and take it out of contrast doesn't seem right, considering she isn't exactly a saint herself..

prieten
prieten

Well, the truth will out eventually. I confess I had no idea about Disney's sexism and antisemitism. Thank you, Ms. Streep for the information. I don't think there is any need to sweep dirt under the rug where historical figures are concerned. The truth and nothing less than the truth, please. We aren't children who need to be shielded. Having said that, this information just made me roll my eyes and think about how just about everyone was racist and sexist back in those days. The antisemitism surprises me. 

GuoLiang
GuoLiang

>Sexism


Oh, I thought she had a legitimate complaint there. 


Why are feminists so infatuated with children's cartoons? Everytime a feminists claims feminism is about gender equality, just look up "Disney feminism" and have a good laugh. 

perks321
perks321

What dirty little secrets does Meryl hide?  Everyone says or does something that isn't the most intelligent thing to do.  Stealing the joy from Ms. Thompson's moment is self-serving at best.

smartermind
smartermind

Streep is an actress, she should stick to actressing rather than promoting the Zionist cause. "Antisemitism" is overrated, over done and over played.

arvay
arvay

Sadly, geniuses can also be stupid, and offensively so.


William Shockley, co-inventor of the transistor, spent much of his energy trying to persuade America that black people are racially inferior. Henry Ford published an anti-Semitic magazine for employees. Edward Hubble was also a racist.


Since none of us will throw away our computers and call phones, Ford automobiles or re-name the Hubble Telescope -- I'd suggest we focus on the racism and sexism embedded in our current society. 


Since I'm not cynical, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Streep has found a way to upstage her very good friend here and grab some headlines.

pmuluha
pmuluha

Who is she attacking ... the people who actually did it or the descendants of those that did it.  Well, I guess that African American community can do the same with the whole white establishment and women can do the same with the whole male dominated society. Accept and move on MS.

MaryMiro
MaryMiro

Walt was no more bigoted than the entire population of his generation.  Social consciousness has been elevated, somewhat, but hindsight can always be 20-20, and anyone looking back can always find fault.  Bloom where you are planted, Meryl -- you're too smart a lady to be wasting time with comments like that.


DanLever
DanLever

Someone's mad that she's not in the spotlight any more,what an old hag.

davidhamera
davidhamera

I'm sorry Meryl streep is just an old has been trying to generate publicity about her self . A desperate attempt to get herself in the news the only way she can anymore.

goblue562
goblue562

Hate to tell Meryl..  but Walt Disney is dead.  What good does it do to lambaste him?  He's not going to change..  It was the 1930's.  I don't think that too many men thought that women had a place in the work force.

MindyMathy
MindyMathy

....right... and long after Streep's name has faded into the dust, somebody's kids are gonna be riding "Space Mountain " at a Disney park and having the time of their lives.  (sour grapes, perhaps?)


PaulAnthonyBrown
PaulAnthonyBrown

I love how the comment section seems to have delved away from discussing the subject of the article, and instead seems to be focused on degenerate name calling.

Then again, this is the Internet ...

jalangaya
jalangaya

Meryl Streep is a wasted old crone whose shelf-life expired many years ago.

pegtalay
pegtalay

She's just Calling a spade a spade. It's a fact that Walt Disney was the only studio head that would show Leni Riefenstahl's "documentaries" in hollywood. In the original Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf is dressed as a Jewish peddler attempting to fool the pigs. Even after they edited it, he still had a heavy Yiddish accent. 

kimberl563
kimberl563

meryl got exactly what she wanted - any press is good press right? no one is talking about any other actress the last few days.

maxinerwb
maxinerwb

Meryl Streep is an old woman who is not right in the head.  I would rather have dinner with Walt Disney (even if he is dead); Ms. Streep should not denigrate the dead.  What Would Sophie Say?  (AS IN SOPHIE'S CHOICE).  Ms. Streep shut your trap.

Tbone42
Tbone42

Good God let the poor man rest in peace.He did far more good while he was on this earth than most of the people who choose to nitpick over his very few sins.  Let those of you who are with out sin cast the first stone.

joeyg814
joeyg814

“If a woman can do the work as well, she is worth as much as a man... The girl artists have the right to expect the same chances for advancement as men, and I honestly believe they may eventually contribute something to this business that men never would or could.” 

Walt Disney in 1941 when he promoted artist Retta Scott to the full animation unit on Bambi, plus there were other influential female artists at Disney like Mary Blair.

MichaelJMcGee
MichaelJMcGee

While anti-semitism may have been prevalent in the 30's I haven't seen anyone here prove that Walt was an anti-semite.  Just a lot of talk.  Actions speak louder then words.  I wonder how the Sherman brothers felt about that since Walt hired them to write so many songs for Disney movies and attractions.  

LeonardoFibonacci
LeonardoFibonacci

@smjaitehSexism and anti-Semitism may have been more common in the 30's, perhaps even prevalent.  But that doesn't mean people in the 30's didn't know Right from Wrong or Good from Bad. Morality goes back thousands of years.

Skimaan
Skimaan

She should just curse at Adolf Hitler. He is Hollywood's number 1 enemy. 

smjaiteh
smjaiteh

Streep is accusing a man she had never met. I don't know if Walt Disney was really an anti-semetic or a sexist, but I do know that most white, Christian, American men were, to a degree, a combination of the two back then. She's probably right; Walt Disney wasn't a saint.


Just don't compare her to Dennis Rodman, please. She, at least, still has talent and sanity.


P.S.: Mrs. Streep, if you're reading this, your daughter was great in "Frances Ha". Just sayin'

vatonaught
vatonaught

Streep is sounding like Dennis Rodman I n an unguarded moment of over-speak.

BG
BG

Streep castigates Disney, who obviously can 't defend himself, yet she's more than happy to take Disney money to "star" in Disney productions.

What's the point, Meryl?  Or are you simply a hypocrite?

dgb1972
dgb1972

@prieten The truth will out eventually, but not if you believe Meryl Streep.  Disney was not an anti-semite.  I can't blame prieten though, when Time Magazine implies that what she said is true.  The shame is on Time Magazine.  I'll avoid it the next time I'm in a doctor's waiting room.

BG
BG

@prieten 

Well, aren't you easily led by the nose... What if... just, if, Streep is embellishing, falsifying and/or discrediting Disney's character in order to advance her own agenda?


I bet you're the one that bought the bridge in Brooklyn that was on sale...

jwaccardi
jwaccardi

@MaryMiro my parents lived during that time and were no bigots, thats a lame excuse 

MerrilySnider
MerrilySnider

@davidhamera You are totally wrong about Meryl Streep.  She is NOT a has been.  Would you say that about Sarah Palin - an old has been desperately seeking attention?

YoRaKhan
YoRaKhan

@jalangaya Right don't consider the merit of her words regarding the TRUTH, just attack her personally. Such a small minded buffoon you are. 

dgb1972
dgb1972

@pegtalay Wow you've compiled BOTH of the usual instances carted out to prove Disney was an anti-semite.  Of course you're ignoring the multiple awards from Jewish organizations, the Jewish friends, colleagues, and employees he surrounded himself with, the multiple testimonies from those people that Disney was not an anti-semite, the donations to Jewish charities, his own daughter dating a Jewish guy... 


And as far as meeting with Leni Riefendstahl, he also met with the GAY JEWISH COMMUNIST filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, and he met with him publicly unlike with Riefenstahl.  

BrennanLittleRavenGoodwin
BrennanLittleRavenGoodwin

@maxinerwbWalt Disney should not disrespect the dead either. He has appropriated stories that are not original to his own creative license. Does he have the right to appropriate, sure. But does he have to right to appropriate without giving credit to the original author? No, that's just disrespectful.

tudorguy1588
tudorguy1588

@BGWalt Disney DIED in 1965.  She is not criticizing the current Disney empire. What is YOUR point?


trichemink
trichemink

@MerrilySnider@davidhamera Exactly davidhamera.  In fact the differences, which Merrily Snider obviously is too stupid to notice, is 1) Sarah Palin is being called names by pathetic idiots compared to 2) meryl streep's inappropriate statements made at an award dinner and toward 3) a deceased person.  Absolutely pathetic!!

davidhamera
davidhamera

Yes I would I think Palin is an attention hound just like anyone else, she just doesn't do it by calling someone a racist bigot , she just let's everyone know she's one herself.

dgb1972
dgb1972

@YoRaKhan @jalangaya Actually there's no truth to what Streep said, but 'jalangaya' is way out of line with his 'old crone' sexist remarks.  

trichemink
trichemink

@YoRaKhan However you are fine with her attacking a person that has been dead for over 50 years.  Hypocrite!!!!!!!!!!!!  Talk about a buffoon aka YoRaKhan!

davidhamera
davidhamera

Attack her personally... Really like she attacked Walt Disney....hmmm .

BG
BG

From @millersthree farther down below... 

" He was a strident anti-union/anti-communist; no wonder someone list Streep took the opportunity to trash him. "

I'll go with that, too.  Besides,  tudorguy is such a little commie sock puppet that he'll never view Streep's criticism (read: attacks) as anything but valid.

BG
BG

@tudorguy1588 

Now you're making even -less- sense (as if that were possible...)  Thank goodness your meds finally kicked in, 'eh?


Enjoy your obliviousness (at least at 6, 2 and 10.).

tudorguy1588
tudorguy1588

Stop kissing your boss's ass and grow a pair.  Aren't you tired of being a frightened little boy earning minimum wage?