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Files originally released to Jason Smathers show that in the Summer of 1989, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tampa office launched a brief investigation into reports that two individuals that identified themselves as FBI agents to Walt Disney World maintenance workers. How were staff able to determine that these two weren’t legitimate G-men? Well, at least one of the perpetrators was wearing shorts and a tank top.
Washington insider wanted J. Edgar Hoover to leverage his friendship with Walt Disney so he’d produce religious cartoons
As we’ve written before, Walt Disney and J. Edgar Hoover enjoyed a decades-long professional and person friendship, with fringe benefits including union busting and free admission to Disneyland for FBI Agents. There were downsides, however - such as when one unnamed DC insider tried to leverage the Director’s relationship to pressure Disney into making religious cartoons.
In 1981, Walt Disney World was getting ready to unveil a new gem in its crown of amusement parks, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT. Revolving around a massive sphere called “Spaceship Earth” and a lagoon that initially called for cultural installations from nine countries, EPCOT was intended to be the ultimate harmonious international village, a shining example of global unity. Naturally the FBI had a problem with it.
Walt Disney’s decades-long friendship with J Edgar Hoover and the FBI began with the anti-Communist hysteria of the Hollywood blacklists, and nearly lead to children’s shows and amusement park rides normalizing law enforcement for entire generations of Dumbo-loving children.