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Deanna Ferrante 18 March 2014 JOU2100 Meeting Follow Story With bursts of outrage and anger that seemed

d to contradict the name of their organization, members of the Happiest Club on Earth at the University of Central Florida shot down the popular rumors attacking Walt Disneys character at the clubs bi-weekly meeting on March 12. A close-knit group of fifteen members gathered in room 223 of the UCF Student Union to discuss the topic of The Legacy of Walt Disney on Wednesday night. Throughout the meeting, club president Justin Clavet, a freshman majoring in hospitality management, would explain a recent news article or show a video depicting some of the criticisms against Walt Disney and ask a question, opening the floor for members to answer. The two major points Clavet focused on the criticisms that Disney was a sexist bigot and an anti-Semite raised a lot of heated commentary amongst the clubs members. When then president showed members an article about Meryl Streep calling Disney a gender bigot, one member was quick to point out that Disney was actually very progressive for his time and wasnt afraid to hire female animators. Clavet also played a few comedic videos that took a stab at Walt Disney, parodying his rumored hatred of Jews. After showing a clip from Family Guy, an animated comedy show, where the characters, which were animated in Disneys signature style, attack a Jewish character, members expressed their concern that audiences could mistake the jokes as facts. If they dont look into it, they could get the wrong impression, Clavet said. Other members disagreed. One even pointed out that the show does the same thing to everyone, so no one really takes its jokes too seriously. The irate atmosphere lightened slightly as the president turned the meeting to looking at comments people had posted on the Internet about Walt Disney. With incredulous laughter, members read posts with people doing everything from claiming that Disneys last words were damn Jew to comparing the cartoonist to Adolf Hitler.

The post that got the most chuckles was one where someone had asked if it was true that Walt Disney hated black people. Another user had responded, No, Mickey Mouse is black. Club member Stephanie Matlick, a junior psychology major, couldnt believe the amount of inaccuracies people actually believed. People need to check. They need to double check. It bothers me so much, she said, waving her hands and raising her voice to emphasize just how strongly she felt. The club came to a consensus that all of the criticisms about Disney were based purely on speculation. The clubs vice president, Briana Dilluvio, a junior marketing major, blamed Disneys fame for all the negative rumors. When youre in the spotlight, people are going to say mean things, she said. When one member raised the question of why the Walt Disney Company hadnt yet made a film about its founder, club secretary Jill Misura, a freshman majoring in cinema studies, was quick to answer. Disney is very keen on keeping its image of Walt Disney known. Theyre cautious with what people see of him, she said. After the heavy topic of discussion for the night, the meeting ended on a brighter note. The clubs officers showed a video parodying Disneys new movie Frozen, proving that even though members wouldnt stand for unfair speculation, they werent above poking fun at the company that they admire so much.