Everybody knew! Everybody knew! Everybody knew! Over and over and over again, as these non-stop allegations result in a long overdue reckoning for the cream of our media and Hollywood crop, we are told that Everybody Knew! But if there is a singular pattern, a black thread running through all of this, it is woven directly into the history of the Walt Disney Co.
Thus far, in a scandal that has unwound the careers of nearly 100 men, three of the most powerful of this unseemly Gang of 100 are directly connected to the Mouse House.
Worse still, the cries of Everybody Knew! are the loudest around these three former and current Disney employees, this unbelievably powerful trio of alleged abusers who reportedly preyed on women for years in their own Monstrous Kingdom, who are almost certainly going to go into the history books with the word “disgraced” attached to their names.
The Walt Disney Co. is a corporate leviathan with tentacles that go well beyond its theme parks, its studio, and its merchandising machinery.
Between 1993 and 2005, Disney owned Miramax while Harvey Weinstein ran it and thrived and made everyone millions.
Between 1996 and 2006, Disney owned ABC News while Mark Halperin’s influence and power exploded.
Since 2006, John Lasseter has been a top executive at Disney and chief creative officer at Pixar, which is also owned by Disney.
Weinstein’s alleged crimes and the fact that they were no secret within the media and entertainment industries, has already been well-documented. Worth repeating, though, is the news that Weinstein settled eight sexual harassment suits (that we know of), and the most infamous one so far (the alleged rape of Rose McGowan) occurred in 1997, smack dab in the middle of Weinstein’s Disney era.
According to the latest reporting on Mark Halperin, all of his alleged sexual misconduct — which involves around ten women who claim they were victims of everything from harassment to unwanted touching to being shoved to watching Halperin masturbate under his desk — happened while he was at ABC News. And once again, we are being told that this was an “open secret” at ABC/Disney.
Finally, there is John Lasseter who put himself on a six-month leave of absence Tuesday in the wake of a number of allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct. According to Variety, for decades there was a “whisper campaign” at the Disney-owned company about Lasseter’s alleged predations:
Many former female Pixar employees said there was a classic whisper network at the animation company, where young women were advised to keep their distance from the co-founder.
Another former employee told Variety that she was cautioned about Lasseter soon after she started work there, in the late 1990s.
“Just be warned, he likes to hug the pretty girls,” she said she was told. “He might try to kiss you on the mouth.”
Another former employee said that after Pixar grew out of its Point Richmond office and moved to Emeryville in 2000, Lasseter’s behavior became more brazen. She said he would walk up to women in the office and kiss them on the lips.
She said she also heard from co-workers who told her that they had to hide from Lasseter at wrap parties. She said she never reported these issues because the systems were not in place to address the problem.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Lasseter was known by company “insiders” for “grabbing, kissing, making comments about physical attributes.” It gets worse…
A longtime insider says he saw a woman seated next to Lasseter in a meeting that occurred more than 15 years ago. “She was bent over and [had her arm] across her thigh,” he says. “The best I can describe it is as a defensive posture … John had his hand on her knee, though, moving around.” After that encounter, this person asked the woman about what he had seen. “She said it was unfortunate for her to wear a skirt that day and if she didn’t have her hand on her own right leg, his hand would have traveled.”
The same source said he once noticed an oddly cropped photo of Lasseter standing between two women at a company function. When he mentioned that to a colleague, he was told, “We had to crop it. Do you know where his hands were?”
No one in the elite media is going to go after Disney or connect these dots or demand some accountability from a company that for years employed and apparently enabled and empowered three men who allegedly and systemically (for years) treated subordinate women in ways that range from wholly-unacceptable to unspeakable.
Disney will be protected for two reasons. 1) Disney is a left-wing company. 2) Disney’s Rupert Murdoch, its chairman and CEO, is Bob Iger, a longtime Democrat who raised money for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, who resigned from a Trump advisory council after the president pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and who is now registered as an Independent — a move many see as the first in a 2020 bid to unseat Trump.
No, Disney will be enabled and protected because as we have seen over the last eight weeks, America’s beautiful people within Harveywood and the mainstream media come in only three packages: 1) Those who abuse women. 2) Those who enable those who abuse women. 3) And the victims of #1 and #2.
The media will work overtime to smother any inconvenient Disney truths, so this might be the only route to full corporate transparency and accountability.
Hat tip to Variety for the Monsters Inc. headline.