Disney Quickly Changes Insensitive Merchandise Display Amid Antisemitism Allegations

in Merchandise, Walt Disney World

Left: a display featuring Hanukkah shirts, plush, and table settings. Right: A mug that says "Merry Christmas from Germany." A shocked emoji is added over both photos.

Soon after deleting a tweet that many viewed as antisemitic, The Walt Disney Company once again found itself at the center of social media controversy.

Related: Fan Calls Dress Code “Stupid And Misogynistic,” Says Disney Was “Founded By A Nazi”

Last week, Walt Disney World Resort tweeted an advertisement featuring Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It referred to the year 1939 – when the ride’s storyline begins – as a “vibe” and a “#HappyPlace.”

hollywood tower of terror sunset seasons greetings
Credit: Disney World

Amid rampant antisemitism boasted by Kanye West and other outspoken white supremacists/Nazis, many found the tweet insensitive. The Disney Park deleted the tweet after five days of backlash, but nothing posted on the Internet ever disappears. @ceezedby tweeted:

Um, Disney World, whom did you think 1939 was a #HappyPlace for exactly?

Amid this controversy, @kjwdw shared a video of a questionable merchandise display at Walt Disney World Resort:

@kjwdw

Inclusivity

♬ original sound – ktj

“Aw, it’s so nice that Disney has all this Hanukkah stuff,” the Guest says as they approach a round merchandise display. “Let’s see if there’s more on the other side… Oh.”

On the opposite side of the Hanukkah display, Walt Disney World Resort placed Christmas merchandise from the Germany pavilion at EPCOT. While innocuous on the surface, the placement of Jewish holiday merchandise on the opposite side of German Christmas merchandise certainly has uncomfortable undertones.

snow white by wishing well at EPCOT Germany pavilion
Credit: Disney

The video received over 400,000 likes and 3.3 million views.

“Both collections are nice, but they need to be at least 100 feet apart,” @soycuredeggyolks wrote.

Walt Disney sits as a golden statue in front of a painting of EPCOT.
Credit: @AshleyLCarter1 on Twitter

“They said pick a side 😳,” @sambodrvzalambo commented.

Days after sharing this video, the Guest returned to the souvenir shop and found that the Disney Park had quickly moved the display. They shared another video:

@kjwdw

Replying to @dulcedelsol in case anyone was wondering they moved it now lmaoo

♬ original sound – ktj

“In case anyone was wondering they moved it now lmaoo,” the Guest wrote.

A few months ago, we reported on a swirling rumor that Walt Disney World Resort might change its name due to accusations that Walt Disney was antisemitic, though this is widely dismissed by people who knew him. In his book, “Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination,” Neal Gabler said the rumors are based on a scene in The Three Little Pigs (1933) in which the Wolf is depicted as a Jewish peddler. That scene was later reimagined and reanimated.

Walt Disney standing next to Carousel of Progress model
Credit: Disney

Gabler also notes that a month after Kristallnacht, in 1938, Disney welcomed a Nazi director, Leni Riefenstahl, to his studios. Riefenstahl is known for producing Nazi propaganda and was alleged to be “Hitler’s Favorite Filmmaker.” According to Gabler, however, Disney practiced tolerance in his home life:

“There is some dispute whether the same spirit of tolerance extended to the studio, but of the Jews who worked there, it was hard to find any who thought Walt was an anti-Semite.”

Because Walt Disney passed away in 1966, it’s impossible to know his true beliefs on race, religion, and other sensitive topics. But many things have changed at the Disney Parks since his day. Notably, a Jewish mezuzah on Main Street, U.S.A., is the only permanent religious item on display at Disneyland Park.

Do you think Walt Disney World Resort should have changed the Hanukkah merchandise display? 

Please note that the story outlined in this article is based on a personal Disney Parks Guest experience. No two Guest experiences are alike, and this article does not necessarily align with Inside the Magic’s personal views on Disney Parks operations.

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