See my letter below. If you want to contact the same people, download my Disney contact data file here and do a mail merge from your main document. (Every activist should know how to do a mail merge. If you don’t, check out the tutorial here.) All you have to pay is the money for the stamp. The OCA and Organization of Chinese Americans are not included in my contact list–for them, I handwrote the addresses and cover letters. I sent all of my letters on February 17th, 2008. So far, I’ve only heard back from one recipient–OCA. I’m glad that OCA stands behind us Asian Americans. Very few others seem to be listening.
As I mentioned during the AA Movement podcast, I think we need to redefine victory. In this case, Disney is a behemoth that promotes whatever agenda it wants. My goal is to raise awareness. If I succeed in making my voice heard, it’s a victory.
Anyway, I encourage everyone to send their own letters to Disney. As I also mentioned in the podcast, racism should not be “business as usual.”
Mr. Rich Ross
Disney Channel Worldwide
3800 W Alameda Ave #2026
Burbank, CA 91505
Dear Mr. Ross:
I am writing to express my grave disappointment in your employee Miley Cyrus’s recent behavior after she and her friends were caught making a racist gesture against Asian people. See the picture below, along with links to the story.
[Ugly picture of Miley, Chuck Willis, and Co.]
Since the picture hit the tabloids, Cyrus has made two half-hearted so-called apologies, saying that she was only “making a goofy face” and that she is “sorry if the photo of me with my friends offended anyone.” In other words, she believes it’s a problem with Asian Americans being offended rather than her own racist actions. In this day and age, it’s absolutely ridiculous that anyone—celebrity or not—would publicly deny the significance of those gestures and excuse them as simply a “goofy face.” As an Asian American, I personally have experienced that gesture on the playground, along with the violence that often followed. I’m not the only one. It has symbolic meaning for countless Asian American children who experience racial violence every day, and I have no doubt that it also has symbolic meaning for those who perpetuate this horrible racial violence. Cyrus has yet to acknowledge that her gesture was racist, nor has she taken responsibility for the damage her actions have caused.
As Hannah Montana, a role she has assumed through her involvement with Disney, Cyrus holds an inordinate amount of power and influence over today’s young people. More than two weeks after this picture surfaced, she still has yet to apologize. It’s a racist gesture. Had she shown up in a picture wearing blackface or acting in a racist manner towards Jewish Americans, her career would be over, but because Asian Americans are a minority with little political and social power, it has hardly raised an uproar. By refusing to apologize and make amends for her actions, Cyrus has shown the world her true colors, and she has refused to take responsibility as a role model supported (and created) by Disney. Disney is the largest children’s entertainment company in the world, and the company should not be aiding and abetting Ms. Cyrus’s message through the Hannah Montana franchise.
There are millions, perhaps billions, of children whom Disney influences through its media channels and stories. Countless children go through the Magic Kingdom every year, hearing the lyrics sung about how “it’s a small world after all,” and watching children of all ethnicities and races holding hands in peace and harmony. Is Ms. Cyrus’s racial denigration of Asian people really a value that Disney wants to perpetuate? Since Ms. Cyrus has refused to apologize, I believe Disney should be evaluating whether or not she fits the mission and objectives of your company. This circus that Ms. Cyrus has created has been going on for two weeks, and I hope you will rectify this situation within the next two weeks.
Parent of two young Asian American children
[my phone number]
The Organization of Chinese Americans
The Committee of 100
Michael Poryes, Executive Producer, Hannah Montana
Steven Peterman, Executive Producer, Hannah Montana
Rich Ross, President, Disney Channel Worldwide
The Walt Disney Company
Robert Iger, President and CEO
Kevin Mayer, Executive VP, Corporate Strategy
Zenia Mucha, Executive VP, Corporate Communications
Dennis W. Shuler, Chief Human Resources Officer
Anne Sweeney, President, Disney-ABC Television Group
Disney Board of Directors:
John E. Pepper, Chairman of the Board
Alwyn B. Lewis, Potbelly Sandwich Works
John S. Chen, Sybase
Judith L. Estrin, Packet Design