By Samantha Renck
- Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo, who has worked to expose Critical Race Theory, is now taking on Disney, launching a campaign to boycott the company’s products over its promotion of “gender ideology” in the classroom and children’s programming.
- “My reporting has shown how Disney wants to impose critical race theory and gender ideology on American families,” Rufo told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
- “It really is just a story of how valuable, relevant, new information … can drive political and social change,” Rufo told the DCNF.
Disney is known as the “happiest place on Earth.” Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo could not disagree more.
Rufo, who has done extensive reporting on Critical Race Theory (CRT), launched the “Drop Disney” campaign against the company earlier this month over the company’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, as well as its CRT trainings and promotion of gender ideology in children’s programming. Rufo’s goal is to instruct conservatives to “stop giving money to people who hate you,” and involves boycotting the company’s services and products.
“My reporting has shown how Disney wants to impose critical race theory and gender ideology on American families,” Rufo told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’re organizing a campaign to fight back.”
Rufo said Disney executives need to understand the price for pushing CRT and gender ideology on both its employees and customers. He said one way the campaign is working to achieve this is by “targeting conservative Disney+ subscribers, with the goal of persuading them to cancel the service.”
“It’s a high-leverage strategy: even a small slowdown in the rate of subscriber growth can have a major impact on the stock price,” Rufo said.
CRT gained nationwide attention in 2021 and was particularly prominent in the the Virginia gubernatorial election, with newly-elected Republican Virginia Gov. Glen Youngkin signing an executive order on inauguration day that “[ended] the use of divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory, in public education.”
“It really is a story of how information travels,” Rufo told the DCNF about how the theory became so visible. “What [happened] with CRT is really, I think, a beautiful example of … how investigative reporting can connect with mass media and then transform into grassroots activism.”
“I did a series of reports on CRT in the federal government, then in K-12 schools, and then in Fortune 100 companies,” he said. “I was able to get this information … first … replicating at a rapid rate on Twitter, then on to delivering hundreds of millions of media impressions on Fox News to the broadcast audience.”
Rufo said the information was then connected with “this organic grassroots network of parents … who were fed up with this, who were able to use my information, use my research, and use, in many cases, my language and vocabulary, and then start taking it to their local school boards, their local school council meetings.”
CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, but it instructs people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its defenders pursue “antiracism” through the adoption of race-based policies.
“It really is just a story of how valuable, relevant, new information can drive political and social change,” Rufo said.
Nearly half of voters said education would have a major influence on how they vote in the 2022 midterm elections, according to a CNN poll. Rufo credited the anti-CRT movement, specifically the fight against Disney, with effecting political change ahead of the midterms.
“The movement will simply keep moving forward, and what I think we’re seeing now is that it’s gone from K-12 education, where there’s already been a lot of reforms and a lot of legislative activity, to now fighting against woke corporations,” he said. “The Disney fight is really the marquee example of that.”
“I think that what we’re seeing is we’re building the case intellectually, we’re substantiating the case through investigative reporting, and then we’re mobilizing the case in practical politics whether it’s through legislation or working with Gov. DeSantis, or collaborating with [these] grassroots parent networks,” Rufo said. “We’ve turned reporting into political results.”
Disney did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.