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Wednesday, 24 July, 2002, 07:27 GMT 08:27 UK
Disney hits back at archbishop
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Wales
Dr Rowan Williams is outspoken and controversial
Disney Corporation has defended itself against the new Archbishop of Canterbury's claims it is helping the consumer exploitation of children.

Dr Rowan Williams uses his forthcoming book, Lost Icons, to accuse the entertainment group of the "corruption" and "sexualisation" of children by a consumer society.

But the corporation has strongly hit back, saying it is proud of what it has achieved over the last 75 years.

Monsters Inc character
Disney movies like Monsters Inc aim at children and families
A statement claimed Disney has the trust and admiration of millions of people around the world.

Archbishop of Wales Dr Williams' accusations surfaced in The Times' serialisation of his latest book on Tuesday, as he was named the Church of England post's 104th occupant.

It was the first note of controversy to surround the acclaimed scholar and theologian, widely tipped to take a liberal reign at the Church after several political criticisms and comments have thrust him into the limelight.

He uses Lost Icons, Reflections On Cultural Bereavement, to lament children┐s talent shows, computer games and "a marketing culture that so openly feeds and colludes with obsession".


We have captivated and enthralled children and adults worldwide for over 75 years - community decency is our centrepiece

Disney
The Swansea-born former Bishop of Monmouth singled out the US corporation's tie-ins of comics, sweets and toys with films and television series for the incursion of consumerism into childhood.

"The Disney empire has developed this to an unprecedented pitch of professionalism," he said.

Dr Williams, 52 and a fan of The Simpsons, also bemoans the "the conscription of children into the fetishistic hysteria of style wars" like televised talent contests, warning they force youngsters to become sexualised too early.

He instead hails authors Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl as valuable in children's development.

But a Disney Corporation spokesman issued a statement in which he defended the company's track record.

"Community decency and optimism are the centrepiece of what the Walt Disney company strives to achieve in all that we create."

"Since the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves ... Walt Disney was to provide quality entertainment and experiences for parents and children to enjoy together.

"While much has changed in the world, the Walt Disney company has, for more than 75 years, created captivating and timeless stories that delight and enthral hundreds of millions of children and families worldwide."

The company, often cited as a prime example of globalisation by media cultural imperialism, last week reportedly signed a tentative deal to build its fourth Asian theme park in the Chinese city of Shanghai.


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13 Jul 02 | Politics
20 Jan 02 | Politics
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