January 12, 2009

1938 Sexist Disney Rejection Letter

This has been all over the internet the past few days - so given my long history working for Disney and that my wife is a development executive at Disney it seemed almost an obligation that I should post it here.

I'm fairly certain that this letter is authentic--- however, even if it's not, the substance of it is. Back in Disney's Golden Era of animation Disney had only men as animators, the women were relegated to inking and painting the animation cels. And look at this stationary! Man, it's frickin' gorgeous!

I did a little online research attempting to track down the source for the letter and whether or not it was genuine. Snopes.com (The Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation) has no entry for it, however there is a discussion page for it and a link to flickr where the letter is posted with the following explanation:


My Pal Al said...

If this is a fake, it's a really good one. During that time, I think it's plausible that this could have been written without any public backlash.

Tom said...

I agree. At that time Disney wasn't alone in having a policy like this, lots of industry viewed women as just secretaries. It really wasn't until WWII that women were fully put into the workforce because they were sorely needed. Also, at this time, women had only had the right to vote for about 30 years.

Have you ever seen the original character description for Goofy written up as a guide for the Disney artists? In one line they describe Goofy as, "A good-natured n----r boy".

Man, those were different times back then.

My Pal Al said...

I did not know that about Goofy. I guess Walt wasn't perfect. I know he turned in animators as communists.

That really puts a chink in my prestine image of a great man. (oops, did I really say that?).

Tom said...

Oh look at you! Throwin' down with the rice card!... did I say that?

Yeah... there was a dark side to Walt in his personal life from what I can tell: he turned in communists and fired those he thought were homosexuals.

A creative genius, but some issues that are tough to ignore.