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Elon Musk Happy Disney Lost Rights to Mickey, Resurrecting Alleged Animal Cruelty

Steamboat willie and Elon Musk
Credit: Canva Creation

A billionaire CEO, Elon Musk, joined the growing number of public figures who eagerly awaited Disney’s copyright expiration on Mickey Mouse in January 2024.

Steamboat Willie Boat | www.imgarcade.com - Online Image Arcade! | Mickey mouse steamboat willie, Steamboat willie, Mickey mouse cartoon

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney’s Losing the Rights to Mickey Mouse, and That’s Not the Weirdest Part of the Story

Entrepreneur Elon Musk has quite a diversified portfolio, especially since he’s the founder and CEO of many of the companies within it.

Among the titles he wears are founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, angel investor, CEO, and Product Architect at Tesla, Inc., founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and, of course, the owner of X (formerly known as Twitter).

Musk is known for taking jabs at other members of the big business arena, and lately, he’s seemingly been somewhat preoccupied with Disney, and it’s not because he wants to buy The Walt Disney Company.

In May 2022, Musk took to Twitter to express his thoughts about United States copyright law, tweeting that “current copyright law, in general, goes absurdly far beyond protecting the original creator” in response to a tweet from Slashdot about Disney possibly losing its rights to Mickey Mouse.

Related: Disney fans may soon get their Disney Parks social media announcements from Tesla’s Elon Musk

Disney’s rights to the Steamboat Willie version of Mickey Mouse expired at the end of 2023.

Originally, those rights would have expired in the 1980s, but Disney lobbied Congress and got legislation introduced and passed that allowed a “stay of expiration,” if you will, thus protecting Steamboat Willie from the evils of the public domain–at least until 2023.

Steamboat Willie (film) - D23

Credit: D23

Related: Disney Officially Loses Rights To Mickey Mouse, Multiple Characters Next

But Disney was not so lucky this time around, as some lawmakers said they would do nothing to save Steamboat Willie after Disney took a loud and prominent stand against the Parental Rights in Education legislation in the state of Florida earlier in 2022.

In a letter to The Walt Disney Company’s CEO, members of Congress who serve on the Republican Study Commission openly expressed their opposition to continuing the copyright on the mouse who began it all. It expired on January 1, 2024.

According to the group of Congressmen, Disney “has capitulated to far-left activists through hypocritical, woke corporate actions,” citing Disney’s stance on Florida’s new law.

And they had a friend in Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, though Musk has his own reasoning.

In July 2022, Musk once again tweeted a response about Mickey Mouse and the copyright cacophony, saying, “It’s time” when Slashdot tweeted that “Mickey Mouse could soon leave Disney as 95-year copyright expiration nears,” seemingly signaling his approval of Mickey moving on to the Great Public Domain Beyond.

Elon Musk expounded on his jab at Mickey Mouse and his house with a tweet that resurrects criticism of Disney for a documentary made years ago, alleging that Disney disparaged “an entire class of rodents” for the sake of a documentary.

disney white wilderness

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

Related: Elon Musk & Gina Carano Praise ‘South Park’ for Dissing Disney

In 1958, Disney released White Wilderness, an Academy Award-winning “True-Life Adventure” nature documentary about wildlife in the northernmost snow-covered parts of North America.

Some of the most memorable scenes from the documentary depict the supposed “mass suicide” phenomenon among lemmings, small rodents that live mostly in or near the Arctic.

The strange behavior would be unsettling enough were it natural, instinctual behavior, as it was presented in the Disney documentary. However, as the years passed and viewers began to research the “phenomenon” for themselves, it became more and more apparent that lemmings are not prone to mass suicide.

Allegations arose that Disney created the scenario in the film, leading to the deaths of droves of small rodents as they leaped off a steep cliff, plunging into the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean below and drowning.

Related: Disney+ Banned by Elon Musk Amidst Advertisement Controversy

Snopes researched the topic as well and found the claims that “lemmings don’t commit mass suicide” and that “filmmakers had to use various camera tricks to capture scenes of them supposedly plunging to their deaths” to be true.

Elon Musk tweeted about the “dark origin” of such a supposed “myth,” and in his next tweet, he makes his stance on Disney’s role in the suicide very clear, tweeting, “Ironic that Disney would disparage an entire class of rodents when their main character is a rodent – jealous maybe?”

Related: “Disney Sucks” – Elon Musk On the Attack

Users responded to Musk’s tweet about Mickey and the Lemmings by suggesting the billionaire “buy Disney” or “short $DIS,” a suggestion to short-sell or bet against Disney.

According to The Street, Disney is one of Musk’s “favorite targets” when it comes to online criticism.

In recent news, the jabs keep coming from Musk. In December 2023, Elon Musk called for Disney CEO Bob Iger to be fired.

Now, in February 2024, the ex-Mandalorian star Gina Carano announced that she is suing Disney for wrongful termination. The person funding the lawsuit? Elon Musk.

It’s unclear whether Musk has any ulterior motive in slamming Disney. Is it possible he’s up for a Disney buyout?

About Becky Burkett

Becky's from the Lone Star State and has been writing since she was 10 and encountered her first Disney Park when she was 11. It was love at first Main Street Electrical Parade. Joy is blank lined journals, 0.7 mm pens, and all things Walt, Woody and Buzz, PIXAR, Imagineering, Sleeping Beauty (make it blue!), Disney Parks history and EPCOT. At Disney World, you'll find her croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. If you can dream, you really can do it!

One comment

  1. I would appreciate it if you would stop giving Elon Musk air. You have made an effort to provide all of his “titles”,

    “Among the titles he wears are founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX, angel investor, CEO, and Product Architect at Tesla, Inc., founder of The Boring Company, co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI, and, of course, the owner of X (formerly known as Twitter)”

    but no actual truth about what he really is: A THIEF, a liar and a non-American aka foreigner, who puts in a lot of effort to tear America down. He has NEVER actually invented anything. He simply steals other peoples ideas and calls them his own.

    I’d like to see him deported and muted.

    Stop giving him air.

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