In an exchange with Disney president Robert Iger on the August 5 edition of FOX News Channel's Your World w/ Neil Cavuto, substitute host Stuart Varney managed to transform a conversation about Disney's new children's Dream Desk computer into a derisive attack on "Gay Days," an annual gathering at Disney World organized by private groups.
“You got any 'Gay Days' on the Mickey computer?” Varney asked Iger, adding, “You don't protect the kids from 'Gay Days' at the theme parks, do you?” Varney's criticism echoed attacks from right-wing groups on what they describe as Disney's “welcoming” of “Gay Days” participants, despite the fact that Disney plays no role in organizing or sponsoring the event.
From the August 5 edition of Your World w/ Neil Cavuto:
IGER: It's easy to set up, easy to use, compact, it doesn't take much room, and most importantly it has what's called ContentWatch built in.
VARNEY: Well, you know, I -- exactly. I mean, in June you have “Gay Days” at your theme parks. You got any 'Gay Days' on the Mickey computer?
IGER: Well, this has built into it all kinds of protective devices that protects the kid, or the child from internet sites that a parent wouldn't deem appropriate. Also, the fact --
VARNEY: Well, you don't protect the kids from “Gay Days” at the theme parks, do you? Why do you have to protect them in the computer?
IGER: No, we don't sponsor -- we don't sponsor “Gay Days.” You know, we are a company that lets anyone who is willing to pay through our gates.
Varney's accusation that Iger and Disney “don't protect the kids from 'Gay Days' at the theme parks” is consistent with right-wing attacks that have targeted “Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World” since it began in 1991. The American Family Association, a group that “exists to motivate and equip citizens to change the culture to reflect Biblical truth and traditional family values,” has called for a boycott (pdf) of Disney for “exploit[ing] their gay connection by welcoming 'Gay and Lesbian Day at the Magical Kingdom.'” After Orlando city officials voted to fly rainbow flags from city lampposts during the 1998 event, religious broadcaster and Christian Coalition of America founder Pat Robertson issued the city a warning: “I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you. ... [A] condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”
Varney's effort to link the “Gay Days” event to Disney's release of a computer designed for children, however, is a new twist on the attacks.
“The Official Website of Gay and Lesbian Day at Walt Disney World,” explains Disney's relationship with the event:
Does Disney sponsor Gay Day? No. Disney is an “innocent victim” of circumstance. They managed to create an excellent vacation resort that appeals to almost everybody in the world, and gay and lesbian folks are no different. ... Disney actually goes out of their way not to do things that are perceived as catering towards Gay Day.