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Daily Wire to make conservative kids’ shows to rival ‘woke’ Disney

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on “The Ben Shapiro Show” in 2018. (Jessica Pons for The Washington Post)
4 min

Ben Shapiro grew up loving Disney movies, he told his podcast listeners last week. The conservative firebrand passed that love on to his kids by taking them to Disneyland as soon as they were old enough — 6 months of age in the Shapiro household.

But then Disney got political, he claimed. Gay characters appeared in their movies and those characters sometimes kissed each other. Shapiro said the company he once loved was “being held hostage by the woke.”

Shapiro previewed the potential for counterprograming when he told his listeners last week that his conservative media company, the Daily Wire, would begin producing children’s entertainment. But he offered no specifics about how or when that might happen.

Those details came Wednesday. At an employee town hall, Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing said the company will spend at least $100 million over the next three years to offer children’s entertainment. DW Kids will provide live-action and animated shows to subscribers through the company’s streaming service starting next year.

The project had been in the works for months, with plans to announce the venture during the midterm elections in November. But, Boreing added, the recent “woke” actions of the Walt Disney Company, including its opposition to a new Florida law that will restrict the teaching of LGBTQ topics in public schools, led executives to push up that announcement.

“Americans are tired of giving their money to woke corporations who hate them,” Boreing said. “They’re tired of giving their money to woke media companies who want to indoctrinate their children with radical race and gender theory.”

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Washington Post on Wednesday night.

Boreing cited Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed into law on Monday. The legislation will prohibit teaching about sexual orientation or gender identity to students in kindergarten through third grade. At Monday’s signing ceremony, DeSantis said parents send their children to school “to get an education, not an indoctrination,” the Associated Press reported.

As the legislation made its way through the state legislature, Disney initially remained silent. In a March 7 memo to Disney employees, CEO Bob Chapek said that the company’s “diverse stories … are more powerful than any tweet or lobbying effort,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Amid mounting pressure from Disney employees in the days that followed, Chapek backtracked. He apologized for not being “a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights,” and Disney announced it would pause all political donations in Florida, which is home to Walt Disney World, the company’s largest theme park.

Responding to Chapek’s apology, the governor criticized the company’s “woke” ideology, The Washington Post reported.

Disney suspends political donations in Florida after bill restricting LGBTQ discussion

Shapiro made much the same criticism on his podcast. He denounced Chapek as “an abject coward” and offered a preview of what Boreing would announce about a week later. “We’re going to start making kids content over here at Daily Wire specifically. So you don’t have to be catered to by companies who hate your guts and cater to the people who despise your values,” he said.

DW Kids is the company’s newest push into the entertainment industry. Boreing told employees that executives also plans to spend an equal amount of money to keep producing entertainment offerings. Forays include releasing multiple feature films — including one starring Cary Elwes — and a sports podcast.

The Daily Wire has challenged other companies it deems “too woke” by directly competing with them in the marketplace. Earlier this month, it launched Jeremy’s Razors to get revenge on a former advertiser, the shaving company Harry’s, which stopped advertising with the Daily Wire after one of its hosts made “inexcusable” comments about LGBTQ people.

Boreing knows how to hold a grudge — one of the websites that links to the new razor company’s main page:

Disney and Harry’s may just be the start for the Daily Wire. At Wednesday’s town hall, Boreing told employees the company’s vision for the future centers on offering conservatives products and services from a company that shares their values.

“We’ll be over here waiting. We’ll be challenging them in commerce. We’ll be challenging them in news and commentary. We’ll be challenging them in entertainment. We’ll be challenging them in kids content.

“Americans have just been waiting for these alternatives, and we’re going to give them to them.”