Famed Animator Responds to Meryl Streep's Harsh Criticism of Walt Disney
In a nine-minute speech delivered Tuesday night at the National Board of Review film awards dinner in New York, 'August: Osage County' star Meryl Streep had some harsh criticism of famed animator Walt Disney. "Disney, who brought joy arguably to billions of people was, perhaps, or had some racist proclivities," said the actress. "He formed and supported an anti-Semitic industry lobbying group and he was certainly, on the evidence of his company's policies, a gender bigot."
Commenting on the new film 'Saving Mr. Banks', now in theaters, Streep added, "When I saw the film, I could just imagine Walt Disney's chagrin at having to cultivate P.L. Travers' favor for the 20 years that it took to secure the rights to her work. It must have killed him to encounter in a woman an equally disdainful and superior creature, a person dismissive of his own considerable gifts and prodigious output and imagination."
The Walt Disney Family Museum has now responded to Streep's harsh words on Twitter, posting: "Hey @officialMStreep! Want the real truth about Walt Disney? Visit the museum and we'll give you a tour. Or, you know... Google it. :)"
In addition, the Museum re-tweeted a link to a blog post written by former Disney animator Floyd Norman, whose first Disney film was 1958's "Sleeping Beauty."
Calling his post "Sophie's Poor Choice," (referring to the 1982 film that earned Streep a best-actress Oscar), Norman acknowledged that women in the 1930s and '40s were not given the employment chances men received, but pointed out that talented women were employed at Disney, as were Jewish and African-American workers.
"To be sure, Walt Disney had his faults like the rest of us," Norman wrote. "He was not a perfect man nor did we expect him to be. Like most of us, he continued to grow as he moved through life and in time he recognized women could compete alongside men. He knew that talent had no color or ethnicity and he judged people by their ability to do their job and do it well. Walt Disney was a man of his time, but he was determined not to be imprisoned by it. He dreamed of a better world and even had the audacity to try and build it. Hardly an American to be vilified. Walt Disney deserves to be celebrated."
Read Norman's blog post in full here