Disney is taking hit after hit at the box office and marked its first (non-pandemic) year since 2014 in which it failed to release a billion-dollar movie. And apparently, Hollywood workers are all too aware of what the issue is. Glenn speaks with Film Threat founder and publisher Chris Gore, who has spoken with Disney insiders, including animators and current and former employees as part of a series of stories called "The Disney File." He reveals some of his biggest finds: "All of the veteran talent has been driven from the company," he says, "starting with John Lasseter. And his departure was not what was described in the media." And they've been replaced by what many Disney insiders have described as woke "activists." Chris also describes a "toxic" work environment that pushes DEI and trashes the company's own movies. "I have never seen a company tube their credibility faster," Glenn says. So, will Disney finally take a hint?\
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: It was another scandal for Disney. Only now Disney has I show you or another lost its ability to shed scandals with ease.
Disney is just dying on the vine. And it couldn't happen to a better group of people. It really couldn't.
I -- I wish them to receive all of the things and the seeds that they have planted.
You know, they used to be -- they used to be the company that would bring joy and magic. And now it's black magic. And, you know, just some corporate empire. That, you know, will do anything for a buck.
And now they believe that they are the guardians of culture. And they are going to change our culture.
Their latest example is wish.
It's a movie that supposedly is to serve as the celebration of the 100th year of Disney magic.
It is hackie and uninspiring. And really not worth your time. And everybody knows that. Nobody is going to see it.
We have -- we have an inside look now, at what is -- what is happening at Disney.
And can they ever bring it back?
Film threat, the founder and publisher of Film Threat. Chris Gore is with us now. Hi, Chris. How are you?
CHRIS: Hey, doing great, Glenn. Thanks for having me on the show.
GLENN: So first of all, tell people about Film Threat. Because I'm not sure they know about it.
CHRIS: Well, it's an independent film. We were a magazine in the '80s and '90s. Now it's a website, and a podcast. And we have remained, oddly enough, politically agnostic through all of these --
GLENN: How did you do that?
CHRIS: Well, first of all, I don't know why any -- all the entertainment media outlets should actually be this.
CHRIS: It's really bizarre.
I feel obligated. A movie comes out. It's an independent film.
Fritz one side of the aisle to the other. We will cover it.
That's not true for all my leagues, in the industry, who cover film.
GLENN: I mean, you did Matt Walsh's what is a woman? And it was actually objective. And I assumed it would never happen in today's world.
CHRIS: Yeah. I think it's an important documentary. It's worthy of coverage. And I don't know why it was covered by every media outlet.
I think it's an important conversation. But, you know, we'll also cover documentaries about drag queens.
CHRIS: We're all over the place. And I think that that's our obligation.
You know, we also -- we also reviewed Candace Owens documentary, BLM.
Which did not get a favorable review.
But we look at everything. And we try to be objective.
And I -- you know, I would like to see more of that.
GLENN: Chris, I am the biggest Disney fan.
I mean, I have the original prospectus, hand-colored by Walt Disney. I have been a fan since I was a kid. I've always been a champion for Disney.
I have never seen a company, tube their credibility, faster, than the Disney corporation.
And I have gone from a fan to somebody who can't wait to see them burn themselves out of existence.
It's -- it's a remarkable thing that's happening with Disney.
CHRIS: Well, it is crazy to watch in real time.
How they've taken one of the greatest brands.
One of the greatest brands. A family brand.
And I think it really has to do with getting away from their core values.
When I'm talking about those values.
I'm talking about the values of Walt Disney, the man. At the company.
Walton Disney was a proud American, who -- who espoused family values through his art.
And we -- we see where the company is now. It's become very corporate.
Filled with middle management bloats. Micromanaging all of their artists.
And as I like to say, I think corporate cultured kills creativity. And that's where we are at. There's more to this story.
There's a lot more to this story, actually.
GLENN: You have -- you have an article coming out, where you've talked to many of the insiders, who are giving you a real deep look into what's -- what the culture is there.
And there's one story about when everybody came back from work after COVID, and they were having a meeting about which breakfast cereals, to put into the break room. And what happened?
CHRIS: Well, it's a funny story. This was on a Zoom call.
They were coming back from COVID, and restocking the break room with cereals, which devolved into a conversation about privilege.
And if you ate certain breakfast cereals, when you were a kid, you were privileged.
But if you ate generic breakfast cereals, that said something about your upbringing, and status.
There seems to be a bizarre obsession with -- with all of this nonsense.
Identity. You know, privilege. And the fact that a simple conversation about restocking the breakfast cereal in the break room, devolved into that, shows you how bad the rot is. Which is at every level.
And the key word that's come up.
I will just say this.
The article coming up on the FilmThreat.com website, which is being written by my colleague Allan Ing.
It's -- we're currently talking about a dozen current and former employees of Disney. And also people who work in animation.
We're calling the series of stories, the Disney File. But the stories we're hearing are fairly shocking. So also --
GLENN: Like -- like --
CHRIS: For anyone that's paying attention. Shocking.
GLENN: Like what?
CHRIS: Well, ultimately, there's more specifics to it.
But ultimately, all of the veteran talent has been driven from the company.
Starting with John Lasseter.
And his departure is not as described in the media.
There was much more to it.
I believe that certain people felt threatened by John Lasseter. Probably because he was the most talented person at the company.
Nearly every Pixar film was a home run.
I mean, even the lesser Pixar films.
Even the lesser Pixar films. When you look at what Disney is putting out today.
So that was the beginning of the rock. Was his departure. And that veteran talent has been not replaced by veteran talent. It's been replaced by -- and I'm using words that are in the correspondences, a key word came up in every correspondence with every person.
And that is activism. The people that have been replaced. They've been replaced by activists.
And it's at all levels.
You can't necessarily blame upper management.
But the rot is from beyond up.
So somebody described to me. And said, Glenn, Bob Iger.
Nobody else can fix it now.
They felt that Bog Iger was responsible for this.
But they said, they hired activists.
And allowed them at the bottom, to just infest the Disney culture, if you will.
Then it just kept growing stronger and stronger.
And now there's really nobody left. To hand the company. And say, okay. All you guys, shut up. Get out of here.
You can't do it anymore.
Do you believe that's true?
CHRIS: I believe that's 100 percent true. 100 percent.
CHRIS: And I think it's just a company culture that's been created.
And those that don't agree with the direction of the company.
Have to remain silent. And are reprimanded, even for espousing certain ideas.
And the HR department at Disney, appears to work in an oppressive manner, creating a toxic work environment.
Where if you -- we're talking about innocuous posts on Facebook, from years ago.
An employee being dragged into HR, into HR. To have meetings at ungodly hours. You know, 6:00 a.m. or something.
With an attorney, sitting next to the HR person.
To discuss a social media post.
There is a fall in line attitude. And if you don't fall in line, you're not welcome at Disney.
Which has led to -- which has led to many of these people leaving have their own accord.
They're simply not welcome to think their own things.
GLENN: Well, I know creative people, and there's nothing that drives creative people more crazy. I mean, Walt would lose people from time to time. Because his management style was, keep them always guessing. You know, and it will make them sharper.
The animators hated that. But Walt was so good at what he did, that you're either in Disney or you're not.
Now that's not the case. No creative person is going to want to go to work every day, let alone be creative at work every day, if you're constantly looking at your DEI shoulder.
CHRIS: Well, that's 100 percent true. And on that note, interestingly enough, lecturers come to Disney often, to help animators. And discuss topics like how a giraffe runs. What does it look like when it runs. How do birds fly? Different type of birds. They have brought in lecturers to talk to all of the animators. And in our article, we will discuss the person who has been coming in with the animators.
Because not only was this DEI person saying, that based on your identity, you are -- you are racist, based on the way you look. You are just a racist person.
This DEI instructor. Instructor, lecturer, went on to critique all the Disney movies and why they're racist.
And why in particular, a movie called The Princess and The Frog is racist, which features a black princess.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh, that was to expose, to bring in African-Americans. And to expose people to a different culture.
That's what that whole movie was designed to do.
CHRIS: Well, yes. Absolutely. But this lecture pointed out, that because the -- the pretext to the film was to turn into a frog. And remained a frog for most of the movie. That that was racist.
And basically, this lecturer was telling the animators, everything you're doing wrong. Which erupted into a huge argument. Of some of the animators that stood up.
This is the problem. This is the big problem.
Is this is well-known throughout the animation industry. That Disney acts in this way.
There are other companies. For example, Illumination, you know, distributed by Universal. Their animated films. They avoided any sort of political messaging. They make movies that are entertaining.
The Super Mario movie, which crossed the billion-dollar mark.
They're just making family entertainment, and they're well aware of that. Disney is the exception in this, where the messaging is a huge part of this. This is well-known in the industry.
It's become a whisper network.
Where animators, that have felt so betrayed, that these Walt Disney company's legacy is falling by the wayside. That they speak on private message groups about each other. About everything that is going on.
But here's the deal.
If people at the Disney company don't speak out, there won't be a company left to save. It's -- it's dire. When you look at the amount of money that they've lost this year. It's -- it's unbelievable. When you look at -- in the year 2019, Disney had seven movies, that crossed the billion dollar mark.
This year, it's zero.
GLENN: It's unbelievable.
It's the fastest. It's the fastest destruction of the greatest brand, ever. Of the 20th -- of the 20th century.
And you're right.
I'm not sure if it's going to make it.
Chris, I have to cut you short. But I apologize for that. I would love to have you on when the story comes out. And spend some real time with you because I think it's fascinating to see the price that they're paying. Chris Gore. The name of the website is filmthreat.com. Filmthreat.com.