Original ‘Little Mermaid’ Director Criticizes Disney’s Focus on Political Messaging

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John Musker, co-director of the original animated movies The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, asserts that Disney needs a “course correction,” advocating for a return to entertainment over political messaging.

In a recent interview with the Spanish outlet El Pais, John Musker critiqued his former studio.

“The classic Disney films didn’t start out trying to have a message. They aimed to get you involved in the characters, the story, and the world, which is still at the core,” he added. “You don’t have to exclude agendas, but you must first create characters who are sympathetic and compelling.”

Later in the interview, he criticized The Little Mermaid remake.

“They didn’t emphasize the father-daughter story, which was the heart of the movie. And the crab — live animals in a zoo have more expression,” he said.

Musker retired from Disney in 2018.

In recent years, Disney has faced an unusual number of box-office flops as audiences have distanced themselves from the studio’s political messaging.

This unprecedented losing streak is surprising for a studio once highly profitable with brands like Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. Messaging perceived as “woke” — including aggressive promotion of the LGBTQ agenda — has alienated millions of customers.

Recent failures include The Marvels, Wish, and the latest Indiana Jones sequel. The The Little Mermaid remake also underperformed, alongside Pixar’s Elemental and Marvel’s Ant-Man sequel.

Disney recently laid off a staggering 7,000 employees worldwide to address its financial difficulties.

David Ng
David Ng
Senior reporter covering media, entertainment, and corporate America. Previously, David was with the Los Angeles Times for 12 years, providing comprehensive coverage of the entertainment industry, including investigative pieces on some of LA’s landmark cultural institutions.

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