ByBrian Finamore, writer at
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Brian Finamore

Note: This is an update of my article from August 12, 2013.

As I wrote nearly a year ago, I couldn't help but notice that the upcoming release of Walt Disney Studios Saving Mr. Banks, seemed to have a positive portrayal of Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks. Now having seen the film, I can confirm this is indeed true. Having recently watched Oliver Stone's The Untold History of the United States, in particular a section detailing the Red Scare of the 1950's, it was again brought to my attention that Walt Disney was a primary figure in The House of Un-American Activities investigation in Hollywood.

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks
Tom Hanks as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks

Walt Disney, or as he was endearingly called, Uncle Walt, has been lionized throughout history as a visionary and a hero. However reading up on Disney through multiple sources over the years I found that Walt Disney's dark side have been glossed over or pretty much never brought up. This man was seedy and a ruthless businessman. It's been reported that he often took more credit then he should have for accomplishments of the underpaid, overworked animators who were employed by him. The man was a racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist, anti- communist in the extreme realm of folks like McCarthy, with an active role in the House Committee of Un-American Activities. Not to mention there is evidence that he may have been sympathetic towards Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

It's almost taboo to point these facts out because after all look at the money making family machine he made? How could this man not be anything but wonderful? He's brought so much happiness to millions of children. Uncle Walt!

A documentary called Secret Lives: Walt Disney takes a different approach to the Disney myth. Breaking down his dark side and making it pretty evident that this wasn't a nice man. "A revelation of the darker side to Walt Disney's character looking at his racist, anti-Semitic, misogynist tendencies which finally led to a pathological hatred of communists and an active participation in McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities." Many people interviewed in the documentary (I'm not quite sure when it was made it was uploaded in 2008 but I think it's older) are former employees of Disney. People who knew him, saw the every day Uncle Walt that none of us rarely got to see. This wasn't just a man who had flaws or may have been a product of his time (I hate that excuse), he had some deep seated hatred and a desire for more power, more acclaim.

Disney Animators' Strike in 1941

Now of course no matter what, die hard fans of Disney like to question the accuracy of this documentary or its so called intentions. As evidenced by the Youtube comments, people just aren't willing to accept this version of Disney. Keep in mind I am not a Disney hater. I grew up on the Disney films of the late 80's and 90's and some of them are really special. However as much as we would like to think that our beloved Uncle Walt was untouchable. There's some clear evidence and testimony against such. My intentions are to present the criticisms of Walt Disney with the hopes that people consider that these glaring character defects must not be overlooked. The video is presented in six parts.


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