If Disney thought that its recent cooperation with China’s human rights-violating government would blow over while suffering only a boycott of Mulan, then the corporation was very, very wrong.
It turns out that prominent stakeholders are about to make the corporation very uncomfortable.
As my colleague Brad Slager covered in more detail, Disney openly thanked the part of the Chinese government that runs the Muslim Uighurs concentration camps:
Special thanks to the publicity department of the
— Rui, screaming inside her heart (@rzhongnotes) September 7, 2020
“What is the issue here is thanking the Turpan Public Security Bureau, which operates in southern Xinjiang, where much of the principal photography took place,” wrote Slager. “This is the region where the controversy over the aggressive policing of the Muslim Uighurs by the Chi-Coms has been centered.”
Disney has been largely silent on this controversy for what are likely two reasons. Firstly, it’s likely hoping that this will all blow over and be forgotten about in the chaotic pre-election news cycle, and to be honest, it’s not necessarily a strategy without its success rate.
The second and most obvious reason is money. Not only did the corporation open up a $5.5 billion entertainment resort in Shanghai, but it also found that it rakes in billions from Chinese markets and since then, has been gearing its movies to be friendly to Chinese government censors. Working with the Chinese government is a must and glad-handing sections that run concentration camps is par for the course.
If money talks, then it’s about to scream as the stakeholders are now making threats according to The Daily Caller.
Justin Danhof, author, director of the Free Enterprise Project, and stakeholder is openly telling the corporation that he’s gathering other stakeholders and taking it to task over what he says amounts to “normalizing genocide.”
“Disney will be hearing from us in a formal way on this issue. We will be engaging with Disney in that way,” Danhof said. “Other investors who are not aware of what Disney is doing will be made aware.”
He doesn’t believe that executives didn’t know about the concentration camps and surmises that some of them may have even seen the housing centers for the Uighurs.
“It’s wildly offensive,” said Danhof. “There can be no doubt that Disney has to be aware of this. Some executives probably even saw some of the centers housing the Uighurs.”
The Daily Caller reported that Danhof did not divulge what he has in store for Disney and right now would like to keep those cards close to his chest.
The Caller notes that Danhof has a history of taking major Disney CEO’s to task and even has something of a success rate:
Danhof has a history of grilling executives on conservative matters. He presented CEO Bob Chapek with research at an annual meeting of Disney shareholders in March supposedly showing bias in Disney’s ABC News division. The Media Research Center study Danhof prepared at the meeting suggested ABC News’s coverage of President Donald Trump is overwhelmingly negative.
Danhof asked Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger during a stakeholder meeting in 2018 about ABC host Joy Behar’s past criticisms of Vice President Mike Pence’s Christian faith. Iger, who stepped down as the company’s CEO in 2020, said he took exception to Behar’s remarks. That meeting ultimately resulted in Behar apologizing for mocking Christians, Danhof told the DCNF.
The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke with Peter Flaherty, CEO of the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) who believes that Disney’s silence on this matter isn’t going to work for them.
“Disney cannot stonewall this,” Flaherty told the DCNF. “Unlike other issues, human rights in China is something that does concern both conservatives and liberals, so they could have a pretty broad coalition allied against them even though we live in polarized times. Disney ignores the protests at their own risk.”
This is certainly one of the biggest corporate follies seen in modern history. Direct cooperation with a government body that is directly responsible for the imprisonment and genocide of a certain group of religious peoples is one that cannot, and will not, go overlooked.