Disney’s Human Rights Policy and Its Implications

in Disney, Entertainment

Disney human rights regulations and their implications, UN stamp left, castle center, Disney logo right, orange background

Credit: @UNHumanRights / Disney / Inside the Magic

The subject of Disney’s human rights is a hot topic, from gender disparity lawsuits to Mulan filming location choices and its handling of issues like genocide. While it has an updated human rights policy, it also has a history of questionable decisions and violations.

This pairs with a tax policy that prioritizes shareholders, creating an environment that puts human rights and international law on opposing sides. Disney has a policy and procedure in place, but it also answers to the laws ranging from Florida to China and all its locations in between.

Don't Say Gay Bill Protest outside Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Save LGBT

Disney’s Human Rights Promises vs. Follow Through

According to the United Nations human rights campaign, these essentials represent “freedom, equality, and justice for all.” As a quick reference, the core principles are:

  1. All human beings are free and equal
  2. No discrimination
  3. Right to life
  4. No slavery
  5. No torture or inhuman treatment
  6. Legal recognition
  7. Equality before the law
  8. Right to fair court treatment
  9. No unfair detainment
  10. Right to trial
  11. Innocence until proven guilty
  12. Right to privacy
  13. Freedom to movement and residence
  14. Right to asylum
  15. Right to nationality
  16. Right to marry and have family
  17. Right to own property
  18. Freedom of thought and religion
  19. Freedom of opinion and expression
  20. Right to assemble
  21. Right to Democracy
  22. Right to Social Security
  23. Right to work
  24. Right to rest and holiday
  25. Right of social service
  26. Right to education
  27. Right of culture and art
  28. Freedom around the world
  29. Subject to law
  30. Right to have human rights
Bob Iger Disney CEO on the right and LGBTQ image as a background
Credit: Inside the Magic

Where Disney Gets it Right

The Walt Disney Company is subject to these rights, and there are many instances where Walt Disney World lives up to these standards. Disney’s Gay Days’ and opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, now law in Central Florida, put Disney CEO Bob Iger on the map, right next to Ron DeSantis. But that’s just one of many human rights issues the company faces on a daily basis.

Disney’s official Human Rights Statement focuses on distinct categories, including:

  1. People
  2. Content
  3. Products and Supply Chains
  4. Communities
  5. Children
  6. Privacy

It details a governance committee to manage grievances, and each section describes how CEO Bob Iger and the Walt Disney Co. make efforts to align with the human rights standards set forth by the United Nations.

Disney Mulan China Release
Credit: Disney / Inside the Magic

Where Disney Goes Wrong

Despite the pro-human rights fight in the United States, where Disney supports gender identity and sexual orientation expression, Central Florida isn’t a standalone. The Walt Disney Company has many instances of settling historical and recent damages both domestically and internationally.

Disney isn’t magic; it’s a corporation, and the policies set forth can lead to situations like judgment-based detainment of guests in the Walt Disney World security cell. It also has a proven history of violating the privacy of children younger than 13, defeating two vital human rights.

The Walt Disney Co. chose to film the Mulan movie near the Uighur Muslim site of forced imprisonment. Further, Disney Studios was willing to remove content about historical human rights violations, specifically episodes of The Simpsons. Another issue was the gender-based wage disparity lawsuit that questioned Disney’s human rights.

Simpsons episode satire on forced labor camps in China as censorship makes Simpsons episodes disappear
Credit: Disney

Walt Disney Company Human Rights and International Tax Planning

There are Walt Disney World attractions across the world. That means following the jurisdictional law of Disney Parks in varying locations. The Walt Disney Company has ties in most continents, from Hong Kong to Shanghai to Florida. It even has cruises that sail over international waters.

Related: Complete List of Disney Locations

This means variable laws regarding LGBTQ people and others are vulnerable to the laws of the land, despite Walt Disney World. According to their official tax strategy: “We operate a tax control framework which focuses on having a sound control environment, including effective risk identification, communication channels and monitoring of compliance with relevant legislation (…).”

Ron DeSantis smiling, Kamala Harris smiling.
Credit: Tom Williams / Lawrence Jackson

How This Impacts Human Rights

As a publicly traded enterprise, Walt Disney Company answers to its shareholders. By observing the legislation, it’s bound to follow the “Don’t Say Gay” law in Florida and other human rights issues in different jurisdictions. This directly impacts any Disney dreamer who wants to experience the magic safely yet is in a high-risk group for human rights concerns.

What’s your take on Disney and its human rights approach? Share in the comments below; speaking up matters!

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