Disney: Sugar and Spice and All Things Rotten

12 Mar

About six months ago, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood got Disney to offer refunds for falsely advertising its Baby Einstein videos as “educational”.  This small advocacy group – with a tiny staff and barely-there budget – worked within the Judge Baker children’s mental health center (affiliated with Harvard) and was making a huge difference in this age of consumerism and blatant marketing to children.

Well, guess who contacted Harvard just two weeks after the refund offers began?  None other than your good friends at Disney, whose warm and fuzzy movies about princesses and puppy dogs hide a corporate greed matched only by the likes of Goldman Sachs and Enron (But, who would investigate Disney, right?).

And what did Disney demand?  Oh, just that the advocacy group be kicked out of its Harvard offices, or else…

So, guess what Harvard and the Judge Baker center did?  Yup, they immediately and unceremoniously forced the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood to vacate its offices.  That’s right, THEY KICKED THEM OUT.

Wanna hear the kicker?  Just a few days later, the director of the advocacy group was slotted to receive the “World of Children” award, given by the Judge Baker children’s mental health center – the very same health center that bowed to corporate pressures.  So, it wasn’t that the group was doing a bad job, or that they were at odds with Harvard to begin with.  On the contrary, what they were doing was working and children were being helped!  Heaven forbid!

If you think this is all OK, then by all means continue buying Disney products.

However, if you feel compelled to make a difference and care about what these corporate monsters are doing to our children’s brains and futures (and to the few people brave enough to be champions for kids’ rights), then vote with your wallet.  Talk to other parents.  Find alternatives (start by turning off your TV).  Get informed.  And help make a difference for your children.

Read the full story here.


3 Responses to “Disney: Sugar and Spice and All Things Rotten”

  1. RItu Ottenheimer March 12, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    If this raises your eyebrows, please watch the video Consuming Kids, which is put together by CCFC members, among others.
    Fantastic and good discussion and worth getting the word out to Montessori families about media literacy and urging critical thinking (which I believe fits in well with how the Montessori approach supports manipulating your environment with mastery rather than having the environment manipulate you).

    • montessorimatters March 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm #

      Thank you Ritu! I actually watched the video last weekend, and I want to put the links to the YouTube version on my blog soon. Fascinating and scary stuff!

  2. AsiaFan March 6, 2011 at 3:27 am #

    I am a fan and a parent using Montessori methods but do not object to “Big Business.” Wasn’t Baby Einstein originally invented by a mother who was trying to make cute videos that weren’t cartoons for her child – in her basement? So Disney bought the idea from her, and thereby, a mom who had a neat idea made lots of money to start a new venture. Why is this corporate greed? Seems like the American Dream to me. It’s a free world – one can choose not to buy the videos.

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