Has the "magic kingdom" become the tragic kingdom? A case study into the ever- increasing exposure of the dark side of the Disney media giant.
In the earlier years of the Walt Disney Company, the main focus was on producing quality animated films for children.
I am interested in entertaining people, in bringing pleasure, particularly laughter, to others, rather than being concerned with "expressing" myself or obscure creative impressions.
(Disney.W, cited in Wasko, 2001, p13).
As the company was so successful at doing this, it soon branched out into other areas of the entertainment industry. The first of these ventures was the first ever Disney theme park - Disney World, built in 1955. Soon after this came television programmes suitable for youth viewing in the late 1950's.
Before long the Disney empire encompassed much of the entertainment world and subsidiary companies such as ABC Television, Touchstone and Miramax movies were set up.
This isolates the latter from the Disney name, and gave them the freedom to explore mature themes without impacting on the "family oriented" Disney reputation. It also allowed the total corporation to expand financially.
There are however, a growing number of Americans who share the same concerns about the way in which the Disney company goes about it's business, and some of the themes that it appears to actively promote.
Some religious groups believe that the subsidiaries should confine themselves to child and family themes, and not cover controversial topics like sexual orientation, tensions within religious denominations, and other mature topics. .
This change in the cultural philosophy of the Disney empire can be summed up by the following quote:.
Disney recognised a novel opportunity not just to create a profitable enterprise but an heroic agency to promote US values far beyond the limitations inherent in the movies.