Walt Disney World considers breaking ‘Hall of Presidents’ tradition to silence robot ‘Trump’
CORRECTION: The following article relied on information that has since been retracted by Vice’s Motherboard.
In an editorial note, the publication explained why it was retracting two articles about Disney’s Hall of Presidents: “After a thorough investigation into the sourcing of two stories, “Here’s the Secret Backstage Trump Drama at Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents” and “Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Donald Trump ‘Hall of Presidents’ Installation”, and the identification of several factual errors, we have decided to retract both pieces. We are conducting a full editorial review to pinpoint how this source was vetted, and how these stories were approved and published in violation of our usual editorial workflow. We fell short of our standards, and regret the error.”
The original story continues below…
Confronted by the fact that President Donald Trump is a highly divisive figure, Walt Disney World’s Hall of Presidents will feature the newly elected president — but is considering not programming the animatronic Trump to address the audience.
According to Motherboard, insiders at Disney state that they are considering breaking with tradition — which saw the last three U.S. presidents given a speaking spot in the patriotic show — and going back to the original program with only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln speaking.
Disney has already been under pressure to not include Trump in the longtime attraction that offers up lessons in U.S. history set to swelling patriotic music, concluding with ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
As Motherboard notes, “There are already multiple anti-Trump petitions circulating (the most prominent one has collected nearly 15,000 signatures), which urge Disney to silence the Trump robot, on the grounds that Trump ran for president on a platform of ‘hateful speech, misogyny, racism, and xenophobia.'”
Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed that Trump will be a part of the Hall of Presidents — with his bust already in production — but it appears that the Trump robot will not be given star billing.
In 1993, former President Bill Clinton became the first modern day president to recite a speech at the Hall of Presidents during the show, later followed by ex-presidents George W. Bush and then Barack Obama.
With the attraction currently shut down for refurbishing, Disney is now rethinking the program and considering going back to the old format with only Washington and Lincoln given speaking roles — while relegating Trump to the line-up of background presidents.
According to Motherboard’s source, Disney may also push back the reopening of the attraction until after the busy summer season.
“Given President Trump’s current problems,” continued the source, “Walt Disney World might elect to push the attraction’s opening date back to the fall and then make further tweaks to the show.”