Website Retracts Articles on Discord Over Trump Robot at Disney World

June 28th, 2017 6:02 PM

Vice Media, a digital Website and broadcasting company that generates news on technology and related topics, removed two articles from its site on Wednesday, June 28, that supposedly discussed a behind-the-scenes tumult over the addition of an animatronic robot version of President Donald Trump in the “Hall of Presidents” attraction in the Disney World theme park in Orlando, Fla.

The articles -- which were entitled “Here’s the Secret Backstage Trump Drama at Walt Disney World’s ‘Hall of Presidents’” and “Behind the Scenes of Disney’s Donald Trump ‘Hall of Presidents’ Installation” -- were taken off the site because they contained “factual errors” and led to “questions about sourcing for the pieces.”

According to an article by Todd Spangler, New York digital editor for Variety, the post, which was published on Monday, alleged that there was “internal debate about whether Trump’s animatronic figure would be speaking in the exhibit.”

The item also claimed, citing an anonymous source, that Trump’s team was insisting on writing the entire speech for his robotic avatar in Disney World’s “Hall of Presidents."

The clash over the upcoming exhibit led to the release of a note from Disney that stated:

After a thorough investigation into the sourcing of two stories, "Here's the Secret Backstage Trump Drama at Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents" and "Behind the Scenes of Disney's Donald Trump 'Hall of Presidents' Installation,” and the identification of several factual errors, we have decided to retract both pieces.

We are conducting a full editorial review to pinpoint how this source was vetted, and how these stories were approved and published in violation of our usual editorial work flow. We fell short of our standards, and regret the error.

Published on Monday, June 19, the first article “alleged that there was internal debate about whether Trump’s animatronic figure would be speaking in the exhibit,” Spangler noted. 

“The story also claimed, citing an anonymous source,” the editor noted, “that Trump’s team was insisting on writing the entire speech for his robotic avatar in Disney World’s ‘Hall of Presidents.’”

On Wednesday, June 28, Spangler followed up his earlier article by noting: “A talking robotic version of Donald Trump will, in fact, join the rest of the U.S. presidents at Walt Disney World Resort’s animatronic exhibit in Orlando, Fla., according to the Mouse House.”

“The park’s ‘Hall of Presidents’ attraction will feature … a representation of Trump when it reopens in late 2017, Disney Parks Editorial Content Director Thomas Smith wrote in a blog post.”

“So now that the Vice Media website has done the right thing,” a poster at the Twitchy site noted, “when do the hordes of liberals and other journos who eagerly jumped on to smear Trump step up?”

If you said "Never," you're on the right track.

A poster on the far-left Daily Kos website leaped to the occasion with all guns blazing:

You know how Team Trump manages to screw up everything it touches through a combination of bombast, incompetence and obsessive narcissism from the hairy citrus in charge?

You'd think that even they could manage something as simple as promoting the majesty of Donald J. Trump to freakin' Disney World, but nope. They've made a hash of it.

In addition, a poster named Dan Ozzi quickly tweeted: “Our president is so f**king incompetent that he can't even record the voice of his animatronic statue without pissing off an entire company.”

Meanwhile, Greg P. of the Twitchy site noted: “When Disney tried to get things started earlier this year,’ said another anonymous source in an email: “Trump’s people said: ‘We’ll be writing the speech that the President’s Audio-Animatronic figure will be saying.’”

“The imagineers [the researchers and developers behind Disney’s theme park attractions] tried to point out that they’re typically involved with this process,” continued the source.

“That they directly collaborated with Clinton’s, Bush’s and Obama’s people when it came to figuring out what the President’s Audio-Animatronic figure would say. Trump’s people said: ‘No, we’re writing this speech. You guys have no input on this.’”

“But now, its reopening has been pushed back to no earlier than the fall, and perhaps beyond that, according to Disney sources familiar with the attraction.”

According to our source, Trump’s communications team turned what should have been a simple recording process into a public relations nightmare -- one that Disney executives in knots to avoid."

“The same thing that we’ve done with other presidents is the same plan we have for President Trump,” said Jacquee Wahler, Disney’s vice president of communications. 

So is there a behind-the-scenes feud between Disney and President Trump? That might be believable if reporters hadn’t gotten so much of their information from so many anonymous sources