What may have been seen as good news for fans of Disney locations following two years of pandemic restrictions was lost in a poorly worded Associated Press report.
An ill-timed tweet by the outlet touted its story on the change with costumed characters at U.S. Disney parks, announcing that “Mickey Mouse can start hugging again at Disney parks.”
“For nearly two years, costumed characters at U.S. Disney parks have kept their distance from visitors because of the pandemic. They haven’t been able to give hugs, sign autographs or interact up close with fans,” the Associated Press reported.
Citing a company blog post, AP noted that “personal interaction between visitors and costumed characters will be allowed again at Disneyland in California, Walt Disney World in Florida and on Disney cruises” beginning in mid-April.
But the timing of the news about Disney characters hugging park guests – notably children – sparked immediate reaction online in the wake of the entertainment company’s decision to engage in a culture war battle.
Taking a vocal stand against Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill, Disney has locked horns with parents, conservatives and especially GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis. A firestorm was ignited when Disney bowed to woke pressure and challenged what the left is incorrectly calling the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The measure, which bans discussion and teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity to students from kindergarten to third grade, was signed into law by DeSantis.
“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” Disney had said in a statement.
This move, coupled with leaked videos that showed Disney executives discussing how to introduce more LGBTQ characters into productions, has already put the company on the receiving end of negative backlash.
Disney exposed: Officials brag about aggressively pushing queerness, ‘not-at-all-secret gay agenda’ https://t.co/j6DZDagcIs
— American Wire News (@americanwire_) March 30, 2022
But the AP report on Disney reinstating closer contact with costumed characters at their U.S. parks – including Disney World in Orlando, Florida – comes amid recent attacks on the company for “grooming” children and reports of arrests of employees for alleged sexual crimes.
Just a reminder that Disney has a major pedo employee problem. https://t.co/bJysnrJeUs
— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) March 28, 2022
What she saying is Disney employees pedophiles and it opposes a law designed to make it more difficult for pedophiles to groom your kids and she’s wondering if those two facts are connected. https://t.co/z5SijIYYVv
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 16, 2022
The AP report also follows last month’s news about a sting operation in Florida that nabbed more than 100 human trafficking and child predators, including a few who were employed by Disney.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 17, 2022
Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo has been calling out the attacks on children and recently even cited CNN reports about past sexual allegation cases.
CNN spent years reporting on Disney’s “child sex predators.” Now you’re supposed to believe these stories are “far-right, anti-LGBTQIA2S+, QAnon conspiracy theories.”
Don’t fall for the ruse. pic.twitter.com/PKCvvdarVo
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) April 5, 2022
While the AP’s tweet that “Mickey Mouse will soon be able to hug again” may have been celebrated by families eager to see the return of a pre-pandemic Disney, there was a more collective headshaking on Twitter.
Every newsroom needs one terminally online 23-year-old to explain why headlines like this are bad today. https://t.co/1zON19ZYIQ
— Brandon (@Brandon93Smith) April 6, 2022
Everyone regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum can find a reason to be upset about this. https://t.co/4Vc9vRopQq
— Roy Williams, MPH (@Rwill235) April 6, 2022
Not without violating a restraining order… https://t.co/7yWpPXuyc8
— Silver Patriot (@SilverPatriot1) April 6, 2022
I’m good. Don’t need a hug from Mickey.
— tilt the field (@leesuperstar375) April 6, 2022
Hands off, groomers. Thanks. https://t.co/tKIhpJAcy8
— NC Momma (@KettleCorn1234) April 6, 2022
This may not be the best time for Disney to reinstitute hugging children in their parks.
— Not Sure (@mr233) April 6, 2022
Can you imagine being in charge of a news media outlet rn and this is the headline you’re running?
— Meezus (@endthefeddd2021) April 6, 2022
maybe not the best time… https://t.co/ssFHl9A7KY
— Danny Karapetian 🏳️🌈 (@dannykarapetian) April 6, 2022
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