Disney explains muted reaction to Hamas show

The Walt Disney Co. didn’t speak out when Hamas militants used a Mickey Mouse look-alike to preach Islamic domination because the company felt it would be ineffective, Disney’s chief executive said Monday, May 21.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said he and other executives considered ways to react to the recent Hamas show for children that featured someone dressed in what appeared to be a Mickey Mouse costume, railing against Israel and the United States in a high-pitched cartoonish voice.

“We didn’t mobilize our forces and seek to either have the clip taken down or to make any broad public statement about it,” Iger told a gathering of the Society of Business Editors and Writers at the Disneyland Hotel.

“We were appalled by the use of our character to disseminate that kind of message,” he said “I think anytime any group seeks to exploit children in that manner, it’s despicable.”

Still, Iger said it didn’t seem to make any sense for Disney to make any loud public statement at the time.

“I just didn’t think it would have any effect,” he said. ‘I think it should have been obvious how the company felt about the subject.”

Iger’s comments were the first from Disney since the images aired earlier this month on Al-Aqsa TV, a station run by Hamas. At the time, Disney did not return phone calls seeking comment, a strategy Iger said the company adopted after some discussion.

“We simply made the decision that we would not either create or prolong a public discourse on the subject by making a loud public statement,” he said.

In the TV show, a giant black-and-white rodent named “Farfour,” or “butterfly” — unmistakably a Mickey ripoff — does high-pitched preaching against the U.S. and Israel.

Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction, shares power in the Palestinian government.

“You and I are laying the foundation for a world led by Islamists,” Farfour squeaked on a recent episode of the show, titled, “Tomorrow’s Pioneers.”

“We will return the Islamic community to its former greatness, and liberate Jerusalem, God willing, liberate Iraq, God willing, and liberate all the countries of the Muslims invaded by the murderers.”

The show supposedly was removed from the channel “for review” after Palestinian Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the character represented a “mistaken approach” to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation. But there have been reports that it was re-aired the following week.

Iger said his company spoke to several government officials, but did not elaborate on those discussions.