Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Good thing Mickey's no longer minding the Mounties’ trademarks* . . .

Disney CEO says that objecting to Hamas’ use of Mickey Mouse-like character would have had no effect (except getting Disneyworld blown up, maybe).

I remember reading once that there is a cautionary saying in Hollywood about not taking on Disney Studios, that goes something like "don't f--- with the Mouse." Not anymore, apparently. From the Associated Press:

The Walt Disney Co. didn’t speak out when Hamas militants used a Mickey Mouse look-alike to preach Islamic domination because the company felt it would be ineffective, Disney’s chief executive said Monday.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said he and other executives considered ways to react to the recent Hamas show for children that featured someone dressed in what appeared to be a Mickey Mouse costume, railing against Israel and the United States in a high-pitched cartoonish voice.

“We didn’t mobilize our forces and seek to either have the clip taken down or to make any broad public statement about it,” Iger told a gathering of the Society of Business Editors and Writers at the Disneyland Hotel.

“We were appalled by the use of our character to disseminate that kind of message,” he said “I think anytime any group seeks to exploit children in that manner, it’s despicable.”

Still, Iger said it didn’t seem to make any sense for Disney to make any loud public statement at the time.

“I just didn’t think it would have any effect,” he said. ‘I think it should have been obvious how the company felt about the subject.”

Iger's comments were the first from Disney since the images aired earlier this month on Al-Aqsa TV, a station run by Hamas. At the time, Disney did not return phone calls seeking comment, a strategy Iger said the company adopted after some discussion.

Good call, chief. Because Hamas has such a good record of self-correcting its extremism. And it’s not like allowing Western images to be abused is interpreted as weakness in the Arab world, or anything like that.

But then those things are not Iger’s concern. His baileywick is Disney's world – not the world that makes Disney possible.

In addition to handling the careers of Mickey, Goofy, Pluto, Donald Duck (not Daffy, sorry) and Huey, Dewey and Louie, Disney also brings Rosie O’Donnell and her unique views into your living room every weekday, through its subsidiary ABC.

* In 1995 the federal government gave Disney control over the RCMP’s trademarks, such as the Mountie uniform. The rationale was that the RCMP simply didn’t have Disney’s experience in protecting intellectual property. The contract was allowed to expire in 1999 and the RCMP deals with its own trademarks now.


Bugman said...

I seem to recall that the Disney folks went to some length to prevent the town of White River from advertising itself as the original birthplace of Winnie the Pooh.

Typical bullying behaviour. Pick on those you can, run and hide when the bigger kid shows up.

Anonymous said...

Daffy Duck isn't part of the Disney legacy -- Perhaps they should've chosen a more research-driven writer...Being Un-informed is such a drag when you are trying to make a point...

Joan Tintor said...

Right you are. I meant Donald Duck.