Four Arrested at Disney’s Burbank Headquarters in Dramatic Protest Over Rainforest Destruction

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Costumed Protesters Hang 35-Foot Banner in Front of Disney Headquarters, Mickey and Minnie Mouse Arrested
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For hi-res photos of the protest and arrest, visit ran.org/disneyphotos.

Burbank, CA – Today, four people were arrested at the Los Angeles headquarters of the Walt Disney Company in a protest over the company’s involvement in Indonesian rainforest destruction. Two of the protestors, dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, locked themselves to the front gates of the sprawling compound’s main entrance. Two other activists unfurled a 35-foot banner across the arch over the main gates that read “Disney: Destroying Indonesia’s Rainforests.”

Law enforcement and the fire department arrived within minutes after the protest began. After an hour, bolt cutters were used to break the chains attaching Mickey and Minnie to the gate, and a fire engine ladder was eventually deployed to take down the banner and arrest the activists attached to the two-story entrance arch. The arrested activists were Christopher Toomey, Jennifer Binstock, Blake Hodges and Alexis Dickason-Soto, all residents of the Los Angeles area. The activists are in the custody of the Burbank Police and likely face trespassing charges.

“Disney is printing children’s books with paper that is driving the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests,” said Robin Averbeck of Rainforest Action Network, which has been negotiating with Disney for more than a year. “It is past time for Disney to catch up with its peers and adopt a policy that guarantees tiger extinction and deforestation will no longer be found in kids’ books or in any products the company sells. Of all companies, Disney should not be harming the earth’s real magic kingdoms.”

Disney is the largest publisher of children’s books in the world, producing over 50 million books and 30 million magazines a year. However, Disney has remained an industry laggard when it comes to forest protection. RAN has found that its paper policy, released in March, fails to prevent controversial fiber and suppliers like APP and APRIL (Indonesia’s largest pulp and paper companies) from entering its products.

In March of 2010, RAN hired an independent lab, Integrated Paper Services (IPS), to conduct tests on the fiber found in children’s books published by the top ten U.S. publishers. Eight publishers, including Scholastic and Simon & Schuster, have since committed to eliminating controversial fiber from their supply chains. Though RAN has been in discussion with Disney for over a year, the company remains behind those industry leaders.

“Disney’s paper buying practices are driving some of the world's most iconic rainforest creatures towards extinction, this is the dark side of Disney,” said Lafcadio Cortesi, Rainforest Action Network’s Forest Campaign Director. “In fact, the very creatures Disney features in its classic film The Jungle Book are threatened by the paper Disney's children's books are printed on.”

Indonesia’s rainforests, home to unique species like the orangutan and the Sumatran tiger, are under severe threat from paper companies that rely on clearing natural rainforests and peatlands. The carbon emissions from this large-scale deforestation has made Indonesia the world’s third largest greenhouse gas polluting country, behind only the U.S. and China.

Rainforest Action Network is asking The Walt Disney Company to eliminate its use of controversial Indonesian fiber and publicly sever all financial ties with APP and APRIL and their affiliates until key reforms are adopted. RAN is also asking Disney to implement a comprehensive company-wide paper policy and rigorous due diligence procedures that ensure it is rainforest safe.

For more information, please visit www.ran.org/disney.

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org

 

 

 

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org