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California Judge Hands Disney Major Defeat in Court, Massive 9K Plaintiff Lawsuit Will Continue

California Judge Hands Disney Major Defeat in Court, Massive 9K Plaintiff Lawsuit Will Continue

A few months back, you may recall, actress Rachel Zegler — who will play Snow White in the latest of an interminable series of inferior live-action remakes of Disney’s animated library — made some news for implying that her version of the titular princess will be a woke feminist revision of the original 1937 heroine.

In this film, Zegler said, Snow White is more concerned about “becoming the leader she knows she can be,” and not “true love.”

In fact, the new version is “really not about the love story” with the prince “at all,” Zegler said, and she branded the original as creepy: “There is a big focus on the love story with the guy who literally stalks her. Weird, weird, weird.”

“The cartoon was made 85 years ago and therefore it’s extremely dated,” she said in another interview, saying her Snow White would be the “proactive one” in the plot.

I point this out because 1) these statements are fairly representative of the values of Disney in 2023 and 2) if the plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit representing 9,000 female Disney employees have their facts straight, Zegler’s Snow White may indeed be the “proactive one,” but she’ll still probably get paid less than the prince.

On Friday, according to Variety, a judge in California certified the lawsuit which the Hollywood-centric outlet reported “alleges that Disney paid 9,000 women less than their male counterparts.”

“Disney has been gaslighting these women for four years,” said Lori Andrus, attorney for the women.

“They love their jobs. They love the brand. But they want to be respected and treated the way they should be in the workplace.”

“The class includes female Disney employees who have worked for the company in California since April 1, 2015, in a non-union position below the level of vice president, and who have been assigned to a job family and level,” Variety reported. “It covers employees from the Disneyland hotels and theme park, the cruise line, the Disney film and TV studios, ABC, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and other units. It does not include Pixar, ESPN, Hulu, Fox, or FX.”

Disney attorney Felicia Davis argued that the case was so cumbersome that it would be impossible to litigate, an argument rejected by Judge Elihu M. Berle — who issued a certification for the largest suit ever filed under California’s Equal Pay Act.

Davis also argued that jobs at the same family and level weren’t necessarily “substantially similar.”

“She rattled off a long list of job titles — music producers, pastry chefs, nurses, architects, ride engineers, visual effects directors, security dog handlers, Star Wars social media managers — to argue that the class members were too diverse to merit certification,” Variety reported.

“These are different segments, different business areas, in different locations,” Davis told the court. “They report to different managers. They are in completely different industries which pay completely differently.”

Berle mocked this argument to Davis’ face, sarcastically noting that Disney’s ability to manage what they called an unmanageable defense was “going to be horrendous.”

“You’re telling me Disney has no system of categorizing pay grade levels?” he said.

Pay across the class, Andrus said, was 2 percent lower for women than for men.

It’s worth noting that while the Berle certified one class action suit against the House of Mouse, he denied another that would have included a larger class of 12,000 women under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act; in that suit, Andrus argued that Disney’s policy of using pay history as a potential factor determine a new employee’s salary, in place until 2017, was discriminatory against women employees. In that case, Berle ruled that, since application of the policy wasn’t mandatory, there was nothing to challenge.

Perhaps someday, those plaintiffs’ legal prince will come. Until then, however, Disney has one heck of an albatross hanging around its neck, at least when it comes to its wokeness credentials.

Few brands have so visibly committed to tying their fortunes to virtue-signaling than Disney has. Say what you will about the executives at Bud Light, at least their pusillanimous executives waffled once the Dylan Mulvaney debacle wrecked their sales figures. Mickey’s peeps have done no such thing, plowing ahead with box-office propaganda failure after box-office propaganda failure, all while fighting a poorly conceived battle against Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis over a deliberate misreading of the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.

And that brand is now the subject of the largest class-action sex-discrimination lawsuit in California history. Nice work, everyone.

Disney, you will perhaps not be surprised to learn, were dissatisfied with the ruling but didn’t necessarily commit to fighting the case in a courtroom: “We are disappointed with the court’s ruling as to the Equal Pay Act claims and are considering our options,” said a company spokesperson.

Given that Disney’s fortunes rest, in large part, on liberal and progressive parents continuing to consume the openly ideological drivel the media behemoth churns out, I would assume one of those options is making this go away quietly with a settlement. Heaven knows the company is hemorrhaging enough money as of late, and it doesn’t need to be shedding consumers from both sides of the ideological aisle.

Or maybe they can send Zegler’s “proactive” princess character into the courtroom to argue the case and “becom[e] the leader she knows she can be.” Sure, she has no legal credentials, but the results probably wouldn’t be any less farcical — or more money-losing, for that matter — than the new Snow White film is going to end up being.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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