By Printus LeBlanc
What is going on with the Disney company? The iconic wholesome American icon known around the world as a family friendly company is currently involved in three lawsuits that do not scream family. Is the way they are handling business the way Walt Disney would have handled business?
The Magic Kingdom became the place of nightmares recently. In October of 2014, with no warning, Disney informed hundreds of their information technology (IT) workers they had three months left on the job. If the employees wanted to collect their severance, they would have to train their replacements. For three excruciating months, Disney forced their employees to train foreign workers brought into the country to replace them.
The foreign-born workers were allowed to come into the country via the H-1B visa program. The program was intended to address the lack of IT workers in the U.S. The program has since become a scam to fire American workers for foreign workers, that make one-third to one-half of what American workers make.
The former employees are now suing Disney for discrimination. The lawsuit claims Disney terminated the plaintiffs “based solely on their national origin and race, replacing them with Indian nationals.” It’s hard to refute that claim when almost all the foreign workers are from India. They come from India for a good reason.
Essentially, Disney has gone into the indentured servitude business. The foreign employees cannot complain or ask for more money for fear of getting fired. If they are fired, their visas are revoked and they are kicked out of the country. Back in their home country of India, they go to the back of the 70-year waitlist for a green card to emigrate to the U.S. Disney knows this, and pays them the minimum allowed by the H-1B visa program, $60,000, and often requires them to work overtime without extra pay.
Elsewhere, you may remember a series of reports in March of 2012 that aired on ABC, “World News Tonight” about a meat company called Beef Products Inc (BPI). The company was a vendor for restaurants such as McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Burger King. The story prominently featured “pink slime”. In fact, the reporter said, “pink slime” over 350 times during the reporting. The reporter was referring to what the ground beef looked like during a cleaning process of the meat. It is completely legal and sanitary.
As you can imagine, the story did not look good for BPI or its customers. Because of the stories, BPI lost customers, and revenue decreased by 80 percent. The company was also forced to close 75 percent of their processing plants.
There’s only one problem. It might not have even been true. As a result, BPI decided to take action and sue ABC and Disney for defamation. Disney countered with “freedom of the press” and “freedom of speech” in the First Amendment. It doesn’t appear be going the way Disney wants.
The lawsuit has moved forward and opening statements began this past Monday in South Dakota. The case has the potential to be the largest defamation case in U.S. history, worth an estimated $5.7 billion. Judge Cheryle Gering of the Union County Circuit Court in Elk Point, South Dakota stated, “A jury could determine that there is clear and convincing evidence that ABC Broadcasting and Mr. Avila were reckless, that defendants had obvious reason to doubt the veracity of informants, and that they engaged in purposeful avoidance of the truth,” Gering said during a hearing last month.
That’s not all Disney has been up to. They are also suing a small company called Vid Angel in Utah. Vid Angel is a streaming service that allows the viewer to filter the content of what they purchased, a movie or television show that is their personal property. If your children wanted to watch a movie that has adult content, Vid Angel allowed you to filter the scenes out. Previous generations called this “good parenting.” It seems Disney wants to be the parents now.
Disney is suing, believing the service is violating the copyright laws, but Vid Angel does not believe it is violating any copyright laws. When a consumer buys a movie from the service, Vid Angel buys a DVD or Blu-ray to be streamed through the site. To ensure the same copy of the film cannot be used again, the company registers the film’s barcode with the distributors. When the consumer is done with the movie, they can keep it or sell it back to the Vid Angel. Kind of like a garage sale.
Congress did address the issue with the Family Movie Act (FMA) twelve years ago. The purpose of the bill was to allow families and individuals to control how they watch movies in their homes. It allows parents to control what their children see, back to the good parenting thing.
What Disney is trying to say is that you have no right to change your personal property. Are they saying you must watch the movie the way they put it together? When the next Avengers film comes out, are they going to say you can’t fast-forward through a boring scene or contains content that parents might find objectionable?
To recap, the Disney corporation has become anti American worker and pro indentured servitude. While doing this, it managed to destroy a company and a small town with unproven claims, claiming First Amendment rights and it wants to tell you how to watch their movies.
Who’s in charge of the Magic Kingdom? Because it doesn’t sound like Mickey is.
Printus LeBlanc is a contributing reporter at Americans for Limited Government.