Speaking for Walt Disney Company Chairman Michael Eisner, John Dreyer, Vice President of Corporate Communications, said today that Disney would take absolutely no responsibility for the Miramax-released movie “Priest.” In a conversation with Catholic League president William Donohue, Mr. Dreyer contended that there is no association between Disney and the movie, and that therefore there was no need for Disney to dissociate itself from Miramax on this matter.
Dr. Donohue made the following statement on this subject today:
“I told Mr. Dreyer that if he wants to take the position that Disney has nothing to dissociate itself from, then he should tell that to the public, but not to me. The public, I said, will decide whether that is a convincing position for the parent company to take. I inquired of Mr. Dreyer whether he thought that Disney’s relationship with Miramax was identical to that of Disney’s relationship with, say, McDonald’s, or with Thom McAn’s, and his response was merely to restate the position that, other than ownership, Disney has no association with Miramax. His testiness to this line of inquiry was itself most revealing.
“Having stonewalled the Catholic League-and by extension many Catholics-we are embarking on a nationwide campaign aimed at Disney. We are calling for a boycott of all Disney products, a boycott of vacations to Disney World and Disneyland and a boycott of the Disney cable television channel. We are also asking the public to call Disney and tie up the lines by making a complaint. This is not something that might happen, rather it is something that is already underway. Indeed, Disney has already disabled one of its phone numbers due to the public’s response.
“In our May Catalyst, the journal of the Catholic League, we will provide postcards for our members to register their outrage at Disney. We will take out ads in nationwide newspapers targeting Disney. We will work in concert with those organizations that have already come forward, and will seek the cooperation of others. We will call on all Catholic organizations to sell Disney stock and we will submit a resolution at the next stockholders’ meeting (sponsoring stockholders have already come forth) that will effectively register our concerns. Perhaps most damaging, we will use every means of communication to reeducate the public as to the new face and the new status of the Walt Disney Company.”