Of mice and men 


On Nov. 30, 2003, Roy E. Disney resigned from the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company. He enumerated the reasons for his departure in an accusatory open letter to Chairman Michael Eisner, the contents of which were swiftly repeated in the media.

Five days later, Eisner received another resignation letter from elsewhere in the company. It has not been made public until now.

Dec. 5, 2003

Mr. Michael D. Eisner, Chairman
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521

Dear Michael:

It is with deep sadness and regret that I send you this letter of resignation from The Walt Disney Company. I hereby divest myself of all official responsibilities, both as Foods Host in Charge of Funnel Cakes -- a position I have held at your Orlando park since January 2003 -- and as the proud owner of one (1) share of Disney stock.

You may not know it, but you and I have had serious differences of opinion about the direction and style of management in the Company since my hiring 11 months ago. For whatever reason, you have enacted and endorsed policies that have driven a wedge between me and those I work for. I refer in part to the unconscionable "all employees must wash" agenda you continue to perpetuate in our on-property lavatories. Now, word has reached me via the grapevine that you will even require my superiors to report on my conduct in invasive annual "performance reviews." I find this intolerable.

Also, I am troubled by the decision to bar me from the photo shoot of our Western-themed company Christmas card, the Happiest Herd of Cattle on Earth. Surely, this bit of backroom maneuvering betrays your malign handiwork.

Michael, I believe your conduct has resulted from some clear and unambiguous statements I have made (to supposedly sympathetic cast members on the shady side of Tom Sawyer Island, where everybody goes to smoke pot) that you are no longer the best person to run The Walt Disney Company. As I know by reading Premiere, you had a very successful first 10-plus years at the Company in partnership with Frank Wells, for which I salute you. But since Frank's untimely death in 1994, the Company has lost its focus, its creative energy and its heritage. Also, it has failed to recover a perfectly good windbreaker I left unattended for 10 minutes during a cast pep talk last February.

As I have said on several occasions (not all of which involved the use of marijuana), the Company under your leadership has failed during the last seven years in many ways:

1. The failure to bring back ABC prime time from the ratings abyss it has been in for years and your inability to program successfully the ABC Family Channel. Concurrently, your apparent unwillingness to ensure me decent reception of our local affiliate, WFTV Channel 9, without my springing for basic cable.

2. The failure to properly capitalize on the renewed interest in our Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Barely a day goes by in which a German tourist does not corner me to demand, "Wo ist der Jack Sparrow? Ich muss der Jack Sparrow gesehen!" (Or something to that effect.) The situation has become so untenable that I am now forced to spend my spare time poring through beginners' language guides, learning how to say, "Johnny Depp is in France, right where he belongs," in eight different foreign tongues. Had the Company provided one measly stack of explanatory hand bills, those hours could have been spent in the pursuit of more productive activities. Like hacky sack.

3. The insufficient attention that has been paid to property maintenance. A blind worship of the bottom line has meant a perceptible decline in the condition of our theme parks. This is particularly galling when one of us experiences the need to relieve himself behind a ride, only to be forced into some urgent mental math about how many more coats of abuse Big Thunder Mountain can really stand.

4. The failure to find room this year for the beloved Osborne family Christmas lights, even after several cast members were mercilessly grilled about the size of their garages.

5. The turkey legs. At one time, these staples of our foods menu were so moist and succulent that they practically fell off the bone and into your mouth. Now, trying to eat one is like gnawing on Camryn Manheim's femoral artery.

6. I still haven't forgiven you for greenlighting Flashdance.

In conclusion, Michael, it is my sincere belief that it is you who should be leaving and not me. Accordingly, I again call for your resignation or retirement. Or better yet, your public beheading in Liberty Square as part of a pioneer-days demonstration to be determined. The Walt Disney Company deserves fresh, energetic leadership at this challenging time in its history, just as it did 11 months ago, when I came aboard bursting with ideas to revolutionize our system of funnel-cake distribution. Clearly, this promise has not been allowed to flower.

I have and always will have an enormous allegiance and respect for our Company. In its time, it has provided sorely needed employment to my uncle, my father and several of my cousins, whose guidance counselors told them it was either Disney or the Merchant Marine. I don't know if you and the other directors can comprehend how painful it has been for me to arrive at my decision. But I guess you do, since you laid me off half an hour before I started typing this note.

With sincere regret,
Charles "Skip" Greenwald
Cast Member 2003-03

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