The Tampa Tribune has taken a column written by a former Reagan speechwriter accusing the Walt Disney Co. of indoctrinating children with its “pro-gay agenda” offline, according to Media Matters for America
The column, written by Dan MacKinnon, was pulled down with little fanfare after the paper received numerous complaints about it, including one from a former Tribune reporter calling it an “embarrassment” for the paper.
In the column — which is no longer available — MacKinnon took the entertainment conglomerate to task, quoting an unnamed former Disney executive stating, “the company has taken direct aim at children to indoctrinate them about gay lifestyles and gay marriage through shows it airs on The Disney Channel and Disney XD.”
MacKinnon wrote, “The former executive said one of the more subtle techniques is to incorporate the colors of the gay-pride flag in as many shots as possible. The colors are woven in as a wink and nod to the gay community and show up on shirts, hats, posters, stacked cups and rings.”
He then added, “Disney also pushes the gay agenda by introducing openly gay characters and couples on its children’s programing. Again, that is their right, but should they be in the business of entertaining children or indoctrinating them?”
Disney has long been accused of being too cozy with the gay community, with conservatives groups calling for boycotts and letter-writing campaigns complaining about Disney’s popular Gay Days and domestic partner employment practices.
Prior to the Tribune disappearing the column, gay groups and other journalists complained about its content, calling it “hysterical” and full of stereotypes.
“The first time I read it I thought it was satire,” Nadine Smith, founder and CEO of Equality Florida and a former Tribune reporter told Media Matters. “It’s absurd. He’s so fixated on this bizarre, paranoid fantasy that he’s actually missed the larger story. Businesses are speaking up and being very visible and speaking out quite publicly for equal rights.”
“People reading it have contacted me to say, ‘is this satire?'” she added. “It’s not simply that he has a point of view that is different from my point of view, this isn’t the assertion of a point of view, it is sort of a hysterical untethered rant. This is intended to appeal to an insidious idea of who gay people are, which is unworthy of serious people.”
In a message sent to Media Matters, Tribune managing editor Ken Koehn noted that, although the column ran on a news page, “MacKinnon’s column – like any columnist at our newspaper – represents his own opinion and not those of the newspaper. We will have no further comment on this story.”
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