Recently, Disney announced that, effective next year, they would cut all financial support to The Boy Scouts of America. This act has seemed to strike a cord with The Scouts and as well as stir up controversy among the general public.
The reason for Disney’s turn around is a ban that BSA has on gay scout leaders.
So the big question is this; Was Disney justified in telling The Scouts off and employing the ‘taking my ball and going home’ diplomacy? Well, lets look at the facts.
Disney has always been big on the idea of ‘rock on with your-weird-self.’ Heroes in Disney films tend to be outcasts and outliers from the norm. Ariel from The Little Mermaid wanted to mingle with humans despite the animosity between them and her merfolk. Quasimodo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame was a disfigured man shunned for his appearance. Elsa from Frozen was ran out of her own kingdom for fear of what her phenomenal power could do. So supporting a group with any kind of exclusionary regulation would be hypocritical.
Speaking of Frozen, opposing gay rights would be especially hypocritical of Disney. Remember, one of the fan favorite characters of that film, the shopkeeper Oaken, is theorized to be gay.
And even if that isn’t true, Disney World is still home to a massive LGBT event that attracts over 150,000 people to Orlando, Florida every year. And though Disney doesn’t officially sanction the event, it is still synonymous with Disney and any action to the contrary would have the potential to destroy the company’s image.
So, from a corporate standpoint, Disney is making the right choice. However, on prolonged examination, one can’t help but feel badly for The Boy Scouts.
Clearly not all of the Boy Scouts support this policy. A sub-group known as Scouts for Equality is working to correct the issue by ending the ban and regaining Disney’s support.
Speaking personally, I’d like to see the ban lifted and Disney continuing to support the BSA. The Scouts still do a lot of good for people and it’s a shame that this horrible act could ruin them. Here’s to hoping that they eventually become an all-inclusive team for everyone’s benefit.
I suppose the lesson to be taken from this story is to know what the people – both your audience and those supporting you – want from you. Although it also would help if your policy wasn’t incredibly bigoted.