The damning verdict that Walt Disney was “a hideous anti-Semite” has been echoed by his own relatives, after the visionary’s grandniece agreed with actress Meryl Streep’s assessment of him.
Abigail Disney, 54, was responding to Streep’s speech last week in which she praised Emma Thompson’s portrayal of Mary Poppins creator PL Travers in the new film Saving Mr Banks, in which Tom Hanks plays Disney.
Streep said the famous film-maker was “anti-Semitic” and a “gender bigot” prompting Disney’s grandniece to comment on her Facebook page. She said: ‘Anti-Semite? Check. Misogynist? OF COURSE!! Racist? C’mon he made a film (Jungle Book) about how you should stay ‘with your own kind’ at the height of the fight over segregation!”
Whether Disney was anti-Semitic or not has been debated for years. A month after the infamous anti-Jewish pogrom Kristallnacht he entertained Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl to his Hollywood studios and was associated with the anti-Semitic Motion Picture Alliance, but others have said he was tolerant, pointing to his casting of Jewish actors, including the first Jewish Santa Claus – Ed Wynn in ‘Babes in Toyland.’