Recently it looked like Disney was poised to reimagine one of its beloved films in a very modern and controversial manner. Imagine a version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves where, rather than trotting off to work in the coal mines, the characters in question instead sing their famous song about going to work on a fracking rig. Sounds pretty dopey, right?
Until yesterday, Radio Disney was partnering with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association to teach kids about the science behind oil and gas production through the “Rocking in Ohio” program. While billed as “scientific education,” the prospect of this alliance had many in the anti-fracking movement feeling rather grumpy, worrying that the program was actually an attempt by industry to influence the hearts and minds of our most impressionable population, who, when it comes down to it, probably just want to meet Mickey Mouse.
This wasn’t the first time the oil and gas industry had used cartoons to promote its agenda to children. Back in 2011, Talisman Energy released Talisman Terry, the Friendly Frackosaurus, a PR stunt intended to teach kids about the so-called benefits of oil and gas extraction.
But a world run on dirty, dangerous and unsustainable fossil fuels seems quite the opposite of an enchanted fairytale. When word of Radio Disney’s partnership with the Ohio Oil and Gas Association got out, the public objected, and many were not bashful about voicing their opposition to this unlikely alliance. In fact, over 81,000 people signed a petition initiated by CREDO Mobilize asking Disney to end its involvement with the program. Ohio’s Center for Health, Environment & Justice also weighed in.
Their efforts paid off. After a barrage of criticism, yesterday Radio Disney announced that it was pulling out of remaining installments of the tour. In statement sent to Al Jazeera, the company said:
“The sole intent of the collaboration between Radio Disney and the nonprofit Rocking in Ohio educational initiative was to foster kids’ interest in science and technology. Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program.”
It looks like we won’t be seeing fracking rigs popping up within the Magic Kingdom any time soon, a development that should make any fracktivist happy.