September 26, 2003

Final Speech for Oral Communications

(Extracted from an even older, long-lost blog. From back in college - wow. Anyway, I got top marks for it. It is, perhaps, still relevant despite Eisner being long gone.)

Eisner’s Disney
By Inigo Gonzalez

Disney, Disney, Disney. There is no way to say this softly, and this may not come as a surprise to some, so it will be said plainly for all to hear: Disney is the Evil Empire. But not Walt’s Disney; his Disney was full of hope and dreams. Walt Disney and his brother Roy were visionaries. Together, they created Walt Disney Productions in an effort to exercise their American Dream, and ultimately, to promote that vision everywhere, to everybody. Freedom, family togetherness, progress, these were the ideals they wanted to share with the world. They created a place where corporate and public growth went hand in hand, nurturing each other as they went. Everyone loved Disney for it. With Walt Disney’s death (and subsequently, Roy’s), the dream was lost. In 1984, Michael Eisner was given the position of Chairman of the Board, and aptly renamed it The Walt Disney Company, in preparation to turn a family and morality-driven institution into a power-hungry conglomerate. Walt Disney, as an entrepreneur, was also interested most in watching his company grow financially, after all, isn’t that one of the great American Dreams? But Walt Disney never purchased growth while treading upon the lives of the ones he wished to enrich. Eisner’s Disney is the only one in question here. From his animations to his corporate advancements, Eisner has driven Disney’s legacy straight into the ground, and brings the company forth into notoriety.

We’ve all watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, or The Jungle Book, or Tarzan. These stories are classics, and much like a situation where someone without shame would create an ‘officially licensed’ Beethoven Symphony long after Beethoven passed away, a shameless Eisner created sequels to timeless masterpieces. As some have criticized: “apparently, Happily Ever After isn’t enough”. The creation of these sequels do not portray the theme, moral story, or the triumph of good over evil. It shows that Eisner, in his never ending quest for fresh, green paper, will do whatever it takes to draw the extra dollar from the hardworking American public through the hearts and minds of their children.

Is this because the Disney Company is so hard up on cash that it needs to practically steal money from families? Of course not. The Disney Company owns just about everything nowadays. Point at something that has to do with entertainment. Odds are that Disney owns it, or at least, is owned by someone who represents them. They own ABC, Miramax, numerous radio and television stations like ESPN, and The History Channel. As a matter of fact, Disney owns one of every four television stations here in the United States. It even has its grasp on raw energy fuels: natural gas and petroleum harvesting companies. Pray tell what those two have to do with entertaining or enriching the lives of many.

Stomping upon Disney’s dream, bleeding dry American values, and gobbling up entire companies isn’t enough for Eisner. The truest travesty to humanity is while Eisner sits upon a mountain of gold (he has a yearly income of around $140 million), Eisner’s workers suffer greatly. In Haiti, workers are paid to make shirts for Disney, day in, day out. They are paid a mere $2.40 a day on average; sometimes more, mostly less. An average family meal costs $2.84. While the workers starve, Eisner bloats. These people pay for their food with their blood. Eisner pays for his food with their blood. When they petitioned for better working conditions, Eisner shrugged his shoulders, and had them fired. Officially, a subcontractor provides the work, while Eisner’s corporate dogs watch. Their excuse is that they do not provide for the rules, the subcontractor does. They have effectively stated that the idea of their involvement in changing the quality of life is a goal that they are not apt to deliver, nor enforce. But there is a flaw in the logic. Disney is a corporation whose massive influence quite potently subjugates other corporations, and they are trying to say that this one company in Haiti is somehow exempt from their circle of strings? So now, the thought for the day is: “those poor Haitians.” But add this to that thought: “those poor Bangladeshi’s, those poor Bengali’s, those poor Chinese, those poor Vietnamese.” The list goes on, and on, and on.

In closing, there is only one thing left to say:
Michael Eisner
Chief Executive Officer
Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521