Disney has a reputation for pushing woke ideology on American families through its iron grip on the entertainment industry. Yet the conglomerate often manages to stifle and ostracize its own employees in the process.
Jeremiah Daws started working for Disney in 2015 and was, until last year, a content producer. He had spent years in Hollywood staying quiet about his views as a pro-life, conservative Christian. But as American culture was upended by COVID and a resurgence of social justice activism, Daws finally decided to “live not by lies.”
In an interview with The Daily Wire, Daws recounts how he left Disney — and reveals whether he thinks there remains any hope for the iconic company.
Disney did not respond to The Daily Wire’s request for comment.
‘The Last Straw’
Daws began his time at Disney as a video editor and producer for the company’s social media teams. He eventually landed a position with Yellow Shoes — an internal marketing group that promotes Disney’s parks and resorts.
Earlier in his career, Daws was warned to keep his viewpoints under wraps.
“When I first arrived in Los Angeles in the late 2000s, I was still vocal about my conservative beliefs. My brother and I were attending a screenwriting workshop that met weekly,” he recounted. “The man who ran the workshop noticed some conservative posts on my social media and invited us to breakfast to let us know we would be blacklisted in Hollywood if people knew we held those beliefs.”
Though Daws initially “balked” at the idea, he agreed to “go underground” with the intention of gaining influence in the industry. “Eventually I would be so successful that when I did share my true Christian and conservative beliefs, Hollywood wouldn’t be able to stop me,” he said.
His intentions changed when COVID lockdowns and the 2020 riots gripped the United States. Disney reportedly compelled its employees to attend various training sessions, where Daws recounts that he was told, “as a white, straight, male, I should be quiet and listen.” Even more so, he says he was told that “promotions would be on hold for the white men on the team” and to “start casting non-binary children for our photo and video shoots.”
“That was the last straw,” he said.
Daws had been reading the book Live Not By Lies, in which author Rod Dreher highlights the stories of Christians who resisted totalitarianism in the Soviet Union. Daws felt like he was “living every day promoting a company, a belief system, and even COVID hysteria, that I didn’t agree with.”
“I was living by lies, putting on this false exterior,” Daws said. Particularly convicted by a quote from Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn — “Let the lie come into the world, let it even triumph. But not through me.” — Daws left Disney in early 2021.
“I just couldn’t lie anymore,” he said. “I would remove myself from the equation. Living in that kind of environment is soul-crushing. I wanted to be free to express myself without fear of losing my job. I wanted to be in an environment where I could make friends who would accept me as I am, not as they demand me to be.”
Daws spent the past year and a half attending trade school and preparing to open his own machine shop. Yet he still had not announced his true reason for leaving Disney.
“I had hope in the back of my mind that if Disney ever got back to just making magic, maybe I could go back,” he said. “But the lie was still out there. There were 10 years’ worth of friends and coworkers that still believed I was one of them.”
As he listened to an episode of his brother’s podcast, The Great Awokening with Josh Daws, he heard the concept of redefining the month of June as “Coming out Conservative” month. “It was time to end the lies once and for all. I wanted my next phase of life to be open and truthful. Wherever I worked next, everything would be out on the table.”
“People have prayed for this day for 50 years,” Daws said of the Court’s decision. “We are now on the path to righting this horrible wrong. This was a day to celebrate. I had a small platform among my liberal friends to be a different voice.”
‘A Lot Of Negativity’
Daws revealed his true beliefs on June 24 — the day that the Supreme Court released its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and officially overturned Roe — through a Twitter thread that gained a small degree of virality. In response, he says, he received “a lot of negativity” from his progressive friends.
“I was celebrating and basically owning up to the fact that I had always been a pro-life Christian conservative,” he explained. “The abortion issue is a very emotional topic so naturally it sparked a lot of emotional responses. Both sides feel we have the moral high ground. People took it very personally that I was attacking women, their freedoms, their health… I understand their viewpoint but I also believe their arguments are based on lies and half truths and just ignoring basic scientific facts.”
Daws did not reveal his beliefs to “stir the pot.” Rather, he wanted his friends and coworkers to “be faced with the truth that pro-life men are not mustache-twirling rapists celebrating the subjugation of women.”
Despite the opposition he faced, a handful of friends quietly confirmed to Daws that they respect him and his right to hold a differing opinion. “Some even say they are alarmed by how the Left has become zealots and will allow no room for anyone who challenges their views,” Daws said. “It’s become a religion in its own way.”
‘Nobody Ever Spoke Up’
Daws further recounted that Disney was by no means friendly to ideological dissidents.
“The assumption was that everyone is a liberal. Everyone believes the same thing. That came down from the top,” Daws said. “Leadership from the company and from the team I was on was always promoting the same liberal agenda. Diversity and inclusion — but only for some.”
“It used to be that politics and religion were not discussed at the dinner table. It wasn’t polite because inevitably someone would get offended. I didn’t know why a company like Disney would want to alienate huge portions of their base by getting involved in politics,” he continued. “But now after the revelations of the last year, it’s clear. There is an agenda that is being pushed. And anyone who isn’t on board with that agenda has to shut up and stay quiet.”
Indeed, Disney has been vocal in its opposition to parental rights laws in Florida, while one producer recently admitted in leaked footage she was pushing a “not-at-all secret gay agenda.”
Daws said that he never personally witnessed anyone getting blacklisted “because nobody ever spoke up.” When other conservatives or Christians found each other, they talked in “hushed tones.”
“Very few are pushing back,” he said. “I wish I could go back and come out as conservative while I was still at the company and see what would happen. But all the stories I hear of people doing that seem to end in them getting fired for an unrelated issue. It can’t be traced back to their conservative or religious beliefs.”
Several Disney employees reached out to Daws following his social media post. After Disney opposed the Florida legislation, conservative employees issued an open letter confirming that they are not comfortable at an employer where executives denounce their beliefs.
“Disney should take note,” Daws said. “They have an entire group of people who are afraid of losing their jobs for voicing an opinion. That is so wrong.”
Is there a future in which Disney and the broader entertainment industry will embrace diversity of thought? “Maybe,” Daws answered.
“If more company leadership like those at Netflix and SpaceX take a stand and decide to leave politics out of the workplace, things might get better out there,” he explained. “I don’t have a lot of hope for Disney though. It’s probably too far gone. Too many people in very important places who are actively pushing the agenda.”
“There are still conservatives there, hiding in plain sight. So maybe there is hope. I pray it does turn around and get back to just making magical entertainment for all to enjoy.”
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids’ entertainment content.)