Former Fox News commentator Glenn Beck has suggested a boycott of the just-announced Disney film about the celebrated English naturalist Charles Darwin, during an episode of his nationally syndicated radio show.
Disney’s plan to greenlight a film about Darwin’s voyage on board the HMS Beagle in the 1830s – the expedition that revolutionised scientific understanding of evolution and natural selection – was made public a week ago. A rough reception was inevitable after the difficulties faced in the US by a previous Darwin film, Creation.
Beck’s comments came after a discussion on whether or not boycotts were a legitimate political tactic. Beck has previously disapproved of them on free speech grounds, but his attitude appears to have changed – at least as far as Disney is concerned. After citing his disapproval of Walt Disney World’s decision to project rainbow lights on its Cinderella Castle to mark the supreme court’s backing of gay marriage, Beck said: “Boycotts work and we [conservatives] ... do nothing.”
Beck then said: “They’re doing a new movie, kind of an Indiana Jones swashbuckling spirit of a five-year voyage in 1831 on ship HMS Beagle to the coastline of South America to find and follow the man who made discoveries that made him one of the most influential figures in human history.”
“Wow, this sounds like a swashbuckling thriller that we are going to have to take our families to see. Doesn’t it sound great? It’s Charles Darwin. It’s the story of Charles Darwin and so we’re going to find out how exactly he came up with the idea, made the discoveries that brought him to the theory of evolution. Thank you, Disney! That’s fantastic.”
Darwin, who died in 1882, and whose birthday of 12 February has become an internationally celebrated “Darwin Day”, has become a target of religious-inspired scepticism on the American right, with recent research indication that more than 30% of Americans entirely reject Darwin’s theory of evolution.