Report: Disney Icon Strikes Deal To Escape Lengthy Prison Sentence

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Walt Disney Studios Park entrance

Credit: Perry Tak / Flickr

An icon of Disney has officially taken a deal that will allow them to escape a lengthy prison sentence.

The Walt Disney Company, founded by Walt Disney and his brother Roy O. Disney in 1923, has evolved into one of the most iconic and influential entertainment conglomerates globally. Over the years, Disney has not only created magical worlds through its theme parks but has also produced a vast array of beloved films that have become ingrained in popular culture. The company’s impact on the film industry is immeasurable, and its ability to transform actors and actresses into cultural icons is a testament to its storytelling prowess.

Mickey Mouse posing behind a 100 sign for the Disney100 celebrations during the Disney D23 Expo
Credit: D23

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) marked Disney’s foray into feature-length animated films and set the stage for the company’s dominance in animation. The success of this film was a pivotal moment in cinematic history, and it showcased Disney’s commitment to innovation and storytelling. The character of Snow White, with her gentle demeanor and enchanting presence, became an instant icon, captivating audiences and laying the foundation for future Disney princesses.

As the years progressed, Disney continued to produce animated classics that left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide. Cinderella (1950), The Lion King (1994), and Frozen (2013) are just a few examples of films that have become cultural phenomena. These movies not only showcased Disney’s technical advancements in animation but also introduced characters that transcended the screen to become cultural icons. Cinderella’s resilience, Simba’s journey to reclaim his kingdom, and Elsa’s empowering anthem “Let It Go” all contributed to the lasting impact of these films.

Adult Simba and Nala with Rafiki holding their baby in The Lion King
Credit: Disney

In addition to animated classics, Disney’s acquisition of major film studios, including Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, has expanded its storytelling repertoire. The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), with films like The Avengers and Black Panther, has created a new era of cinematic icons. Actors like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther have transcended their roles, becoming synonymous with their characters and leaving a lasting mark on film history.

Disney’s live-action adaptations of animated classics have also brought iconic characters to a new generation of audiences. Beauty and the Beast (2017), starring Emma Watson as Belle, and Aladdin (2019), featuring Will Smith as the Genie, are examples of successful adaptations that introduced these characters to a fresh audience while paying homage to the animated originals.

Beyond the realm of animation, Disney’s impact on actors and actresses extends to its theme parks and media franchises. The Disney Princess franchise, which includes characters like Cinderella, Ariel, and Mulan, has elevated actresses into the realm of cultural royalty. Theme park attractions, such as those based on Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars, have turned actors like Johnny Depp and Carrie Fisher into iconic figures associated with the Disney brand.

However, one Disney icon was in quite a bit of trouble recently.

jason bateman as nick wilde in zootopia angry
Credit: Disney

Shakira, who is best known for her work in Disney’s hit animated movie Zootopia (2016), officially reached a settlement with Spanish courts regarding allegations of improper payment of income and wealth taxes from 2012-2014. Despite maintaining her innocence, the global pop icon paid a fine of €7.5 million.

During the mentioned years, Shakira claimed the Bahamas as her primary residence, emphasizing her extensive international touring commitments. However, her relationship with Spanish soccer player Gerard Piqué, coupled with the purchase of a Barcelona home in 2012, led prosecutors to argue that she resided in Spain. Shakira and Piqué parted ways in 2022.

In a detailed statement obtained by EW, Shakira asserted her commitment to making ethical decisions and serving as a positive example. Despite these efforts, she found herself embroiled in a legal dispute, a fate shared by many high-profile individuals.

Shakira as Gazelle in 'Zootopia'
Credit: Disney

Despite having the support of renowned firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young, Shakira opted not to engage in a protracted legal battle. Instead, she expressed a desire to focus on spending quality time with her children and hinted at future projects, such as her upcoming world tour and new album. The actress and entertainer reportedly faced a prison sentence of more than 10 years if convicted, but maintained her innocence with the settlement.

Her full statement can be read below:

“Throughout my career, I have always strived to do what’s right and set a positive example for others. That often means taking the extra step in business and personal financial decisions to procure the absolute best counsel, including seeking the advice of the world’s preeminent tax authorities such as PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, who advised me from the start, and subsequently Ernst & Young Global Limited. Unfortunately, and despite these efforts, tax authorities in Spain pursued a case against me as they have against many professional athletes and other high-profile individuals, draining those people’s energy, time, and tranquility for years at a time. While I was determined to defend my innocence in a trial that my lawyers were confident would have ruled in my favor, I have made the decision to finally resolve this matter with the best interest of my kids at heart who do not want to see their mom sacrifice her personal well-being in this fight. I need to move past the stress and emotional toll of the last several years and focus on the things I love – my kids and all the opportunities to come in my career, including my upcoming world tour and my new album, both of which I am extremely excited about. I admire tremendously those who have fought these injustices to the end, but for me, today, winning is getting my time back for my kids and my career.”

Gazelle (Shakira) Clawhauser (Nate Torrence) and Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) put on quite the show. Credit: Disney Animation Studios
Credit: Disney Animation Studios

Shakira acknowledged the taxing toll the legal proceedings had taken on her energy, time, and tranquility. While maintaining confidence in a favorable trial outcome, she said she ultimately prioritized her children’s well-being, deciding to resolve the matter and move past the stress and emotional strain of the preceding years. She expressed admiration for those who persist in fighting such injustices but emphasized that, for her, winning meant reclaiming her time for her children and her career.

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