FOI Emails: Disney Rejected Obama Proposal To Use ‘Frozen’ Characters To Push Climate Agenda

  • Date: 15/12/17
  • The Hill

Emails unearthed by The Hill show Disney’s leadership was frustrated and annoyed by an Obama administration official’s public statements suggesting it was considering using characters in the popular film “Frozen” to teach children about climate change.

Robert Papp, a State Department official, spoke twice in 2015 about the possibility of Disney agreeing to let the department use Olaf the snowman and other characters from the film as part of an effort to warn about the dangers of global warming.

Disney officials felt they had previously closed the discussion at a meeting in the fall of 2014 with Papp, the State Department’s envoy for the Arctic.

“We felt Admiral Papp misrepresented the informational meeting that was held at Disney in October of last year,” a Disney employee wrote to State, according to documents obtained by The Hill through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The name of the Disney official writing the email has been redacted, though Paul Baribault, the senior vice president of marketing for Disney, had met with Papp in November 2014. Other emails in the chain obtained by The Hill are signed by a “Paul.”

“It is frustrating to see these types of comments continue,” the Disney employee wrote to Erin Robertson, a State public affairs officer who worked for Papp, in the March 12, 2015, email.

Robertson emailed back to the Disney official that a reporter at a Washington, D.C., event had asked about the issue. Robertson said the question “put the Admiral on the spot” and “it would have been very difficult for him to avoid answering.”

The Disney employee then reiterated the company’s dissatisfaction.

“It’s too bad he felt the need to say that he’s continuing discussions with Disney when that simply hasn’t been the case,” the employee said, adding that what he said “is a mischaracterization of the situation” and “happens to be untrue.”

The Disney employee asked that Papp clarify the issue if he’s asked again.

Papp’s outreach generated extensive media coverage at the time and attracted mockery and criticism from conservatives who already thought then-President Obama’s climate agenda had gone too far.

The effort to use “Frozen” for climate messaging was part of an extensive plan by the Obama administration to convince Americans and the world that climate change is a major issue with enormous consequences.

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