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‘Gay Day’ performer/employees to be disciplined, Disney exec sa

WASHINGTON (BP)–An onstage “Gay Day” performance by two Walt Disney World employees simulating homosexual sex acts will result in disciplinary action against the two men, according to a Disney spokesman quoted in The Orlando Sentinel July 9.
The two unnamed employees were videotaped with a night-vision camera by the president of the Christian Action Network, Martin Mawyer, who played the videotape during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington July 8.
The two employees’ lewd performance occurred during the ninth annual gathering of homosexuals and lesbians at Disney World, which this year actually spanned two days, June 4-5, drawing an estimated 100,000 participants alongside the regular flow of families visiting Disney attractions.
The employees, wearing cutoff jeans and boots, performed June 5 in one of Disney-owned Pleasure Island’s eight nightclubs, “Mannequins Dance Palace.”
“This is a betrayal to parents throughout the nation who are solely responsible for keeping Disney in business,” Mawyer was quoted by The Sentinel as saying. “When you go into a park that bills itself as No. 1 with families, you don’t expect to see this type of behavior.”
Prior to Mawyer’s July 8 news conference, the Christian Action Network had not been a noted part of the Disney boycott launched by the American Family Association in 1995 over the decline in moral and family values at the entertainment conglomerate since the days of founder Walt Disney. The boycott has since been joined by the Southern Baptist Convention (in 1997), Focus on the Family, the Assemblies of God, Concerned Women for America and other religious groups.
The Christian Action Network has posted several pictures of the Disney employees’ dance on its Internet website, www.christianaction.org, with the entire video available for downloading to a computer. The organization’s website also includes three e-mail petitions — one calling for the resignation of Disney chairman Michael Eisner; another urging Disney to end its cooperation with “Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World;” and a third in which individuals can tell Disney they are now boycotting the company.
The Christian Action Network, founded in 1990 and based in Forest, Va., states on its Internet site its mission is, “To defend the American family and to advocate traditional American principles of religious liberty, public virtue and good government.”
After Mawyer’s news conference, Disney World public affairs director Bill Warren issued a statement acknowledging, “After reviewing video released by the Christian Action Network, we would consider the dance scenes inappropriate professional conduct for any of our employees.”
The next step, Warren said: “… we intend to take the appropriate disciplinary action.” His statement, however, noted the dancers were working in a dance club restricted to patrons age 21 and over.
Warren’s office did not disclose to Baptist Press, in response to an inquiry July 14, the specifics of any disciplinary action thus far.
Warren also reiterated to The Sentinel that Disney has “a strong non-discrimination policy. We have a firm belief all people are welcome at the Walt Dinsey World Resort.”
Bill Merrell, vice president for convention relations for the SBC Executive Committee, observed meanwhile, “There is nothing surprising either in the sexually explicit behavior nor in Disney’s PR-driven response. It seems that Disney Company is caught in a web of its own making. The creation of the pro-homosexuality, anti-family culture at Disney has spawned this very behavior.
“Now, caught in the act, Disney executives must give the appearance of protesting. Whatever ‘discipline’ is meted out is internally inconsistent with the culture that Mr. Eisner and friends have imposed upon the once-family friendly entertainment giant,” Merrell said, “and I’ll be astounded not to hear that charge publicly leveled by the political homosexual movement.”
The promised disciplinary action marks the fourth time in eight months Disney has responded to a religious/moral concern raised by one or more of its critics.
The others:
— In April, Disney’s Miramax subsidiary dropped a film titled “Dogma,” which, by several assessments, promises to offend Christians as deeply as the 1988 film, “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Dogma nevertheless will likely make its way to theaters via independent distribution. The film includes a Skee-ball-addicted “God;” a Jesus who, according to the New York Post, is “an updated Christ who no longer hangs from the cross but instead offers a thumb-up salute;” a foul-mouthed 13th apostle who, according to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, which is staging its own Disney boycott, “resembles Howard Stern,” the radio personality seeking to make a name for himself via moral depravity; and a story line in which one of Virgin Mary and Joseph’s descendants becomes a lapsed Catholic who works in an abortion clinic.
— At the beginning of the year, Disney announced its first-ever video recall — of 3.4 million copies of the animated “The Rescuers” — stemming from two frames, among 110,000 in the film, which showed a photo of an unclothed woman. The costly recall stood in contrast to previous Disney denials of objectionable images in various films, including “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.”
— Disney chairman Eisner, in a three-page letter to the company’s shareholders in January, reflected on Disney’s disappointing 1998 box office: “… in too many instances, profits did not materialize from the revenues achieved by our films. Stated more bluntly, either the films and marketing cost too much, or the audience rejected our ideas. Whatever the reason, we’re glad fiscal ’98 is over in this area.” Additionally, Eisner was quoted in media reports as saying Disney plans to release more family oriented films in 1999.
Last fall for the first time, Disney’s involvement in the nation’s largest soft-core pornography cable channel, Viewer’s Choice, was revealed in a new book, “Disney: The Mouse Betrayed.” Husband-and-wife authors Peter and Rochelle Schweizer reported Viewer’s Choice officials would not disclose Disney’s ownership status, but the officials said no other company holds a larger stake in the channel.
Among earlier concerns raised by proponents of the Disney boycott are the Disney-owned ABC initiative to make “Ellen” the first sitcom with a lesbian lead character on network TV; films of objectionable violent and/or sexual content, such as the Miramax subsidiary’s “Pulp Fiction” and “Kids;” cooperation with homosexuals holding “Gay Days” at Disney theme parks; extending health benefits to partners of homosexual employees; and the Hyperion subsidiary publishing of books promoting homosexuality, such as “Growing Up Gay.”
The SBC boycott resolution in 1997 noted, “… this is not an attempt to bring The Disney Company down, but to bring Southern Baptists up to the moral standard of God,” because: “Everything Christians possess of time, money, and resources is given to them by God as a stewardship for which they will give an account before a holy God … .” The resolution urges “all Southern Baptists to graciously communicate the reasons for their individual actions to The Disney Company and other companies,” noting Disney “is not the only such provider” of morally objectionable movies and televisions programs.