The People’s Alliance for Justice is a national human/civil rights organization founded by Reverend Shane Harris in 2019 to keep Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream alive by taking direct action with a balanced standard of justice for all—no matter what race, religion, criminal record, sexuality, gender status, or citizenship.
January 21, 2019
Mr. Bob lger
Chairman and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Dear Mr. lger,
I have recently become aware of a program being aired on the A&E Networks, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, which is hateful towards several religions. This is Leah Remini Aftermath reality series. I understand this program is in its third season. A&E’s recent programming persecutes some of America’s religions—Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses and many other denominations. The program asserts that it is the program’s objective is to “look”…”looking” into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This programming is one-sided and does not attempt to provide a balanced perspective of the aforementioned churches. As I write to you on this Martin Luther King day of 2019, I reflect on the work I have done in partnership with the Church of Scientology for many years on some of the most important civil rights and social justice issues in our Country. Their members have stood with me on important issues impacting the quality of life for all. By continuing the airing of this series, Disney makes itself a party to the violence resulting.
Since the airing of the show, the Church of Scientology has received hundreds of threats of death, violence or vandalism. This includes the arson of their Church in Twin Cities, another church having a car driven purposefully through their front windows, etc. I am sure you are aware of the Charleston Emmanuel AME Church killings two years ago when the Pastor and nine of his members were killed during bible study by the professed white supremacist nationalist Dylann Roof. Recent shootings in the synagogue in Pittsburgh and other such incidents against churches around the U.S. are becoming more prevalent each day. The idea that Disney would sponsor programs that incite hatred against religions from my perspective is unconscionable. Combating religious intolerance, stigmatization, discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief is a matter of the highest importance as United Nations global policy. Must we wait until something worse happens to stop proliferating hate-mongering on our television networks? I respectfully request that you look at this from a dispassionate perspective and a broader vision of the world, beyond television ratings. It is now more important than ever that we welcome multiple perspectives to the table to have a robust understanding of one another. It is time sir, to act with courage and compassion—as would the great Walt Disney and many of his contemporaries—and not merely turn a blind eye to the discrimination and persecution by the few with a mouthpiece, against the many who peacefully and diligently seek to follow their religious convictions.
I know based on my study that you are dedicated to community outreach and applaud the diversity that our country stands for. Will you please consider full cooperation with the above churches and because chemistry is at risk, respond positively to my request? I look forward to hearing from you and will pass on your response to our chapter leaders across the Country and the several churches partnered with the Alliance that are alarmed and waiting for a response as well. We stand with Scientology, Jehovah’s Witness, and all denominations for freedom of religion and against any form of hate even against religious institutions.
Reverend Shane Harris
President & Founder
January 19, 2019
Mr. Robert Iger
Chairman and CEO
The Walt Disney Company
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
I Would like to bring your attention to a program being aired on the A&E Networks, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, which seems very hateful, discriminatory, and Stereotypes several religions. Leah Remini Aftermath reality series. This is apparently the third season. The program has a dangerous impact on several religions and its adherents in our society. Scientology, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and other Christian denominations. It’s content has incited hate that led to violence and murder.
I am sure you and The Vission Of Disney is above this. But sir, the Church of Scientology has had hundreds of threats of death, violence and vandalism because of the show. Such as a church in Twin Cities being set on fire, another church having a car driven purposefully through their front window, etc. Since the Jehovah’s Witnesses episode was announced there have been five of their Kingdom Halls burned down.
In the Past 30 years I have been on many faith and community Advisory Boards To Law Eforcement. Sheriff, DHS, FBI, LAPD, City Attorney, DEA. Etc.
As Communty partners Many of our discussions and action items revolved around Preventing Violent Extremism. In Most cases if not all media played a big role in dehumanizing the other. Sadly Active shooter training by law enforcement is normal for institutions today.
The great legacy of Disney should not be apart of the research models of what leads To hate, violence and murder.
As a past cochair Of LAPD Muslim Forum I respectfully request that you look into this matter urgently . I look forward to hearing from you and will pass on your response to the community.
Mahomed Akbar Khan
American Muslim Strategies.
10866 Washington Blvd. 311
Culver City. CA. 90232
In the wake of a religious hate crime resulting in the death of a young church staff member, Los Angeles faith leaders have come together to call upon Mr. Robert Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, to end the hate propaganda purveyed by A&E Networks. They will be gathering in a press conference outside of Disney Studios in Burbank on Tuesday, January 29 at 4:00pm.
A&E Networks, a co-owned subsidiary of the Disney Company, has elected itself a purveyor of religious hate propaganda through its airing of Leah Remini’s “Aftermath” show, which has endangered the religious freedom and lives of millions across several faith groups.
A staff member of the Church of Scientology in Sydney, Australia was murdered earlier this month by someone directly influenced by A&E’s religious hate programming. It is the latest in a long line of murders at American and foreign houses of worship, further evidence of the dangerous link between hate speech and violence which has been identified by the Council of Europe and many other sources.
Reverend Dr. Cecil L. Murray, Pastor Emeritus, First AME Church of Los Angeles raised this issue with Mr. Iger in his letter of December 13, 2018, who offered no response. Rev. Murray warned in that letter, “Do you have to wait until something worse happens to stop this hate-mongering?” Not 3 weeks later, something worse did happen: murder.
Rev. Shane Harris President and Founder of The People’s Alliance for Justice, joining with Rev. Murray and the Church of Scientology, called upon media outlets to: “think beyond their pocket books to embrace places of worship and those housed within in support of love and peace.”
Disney has remained silent on the subject of A&E’s anti-religious hate campaign.
Anti-religious rhetoric must end. People are being murdered in their houses of worship. Hate campaigns are behind this. As a purported purveyor of wholesome television and film, Disney should be leading the way towards a more peaceful, moral world, not promoting hate propaganda.
The late and great Walt Disney himself was a devout Christian. Walt was also eminently respectful of people of all faiths. He stated:
“I believe firmly in the efficacy of religion, in its powerful influence on a person’s whole life. It helps immeasurably to meet the storms and stress of life and keep you attuned to the Divine inspiration. Without inspiration, we would perish.” – Walt Disney
Is Bob Iger choosing to betray Walt Disney’s vision and legacy, at the very company he founded to carry it out?
We are Baptist, we are First AME, we are Scientologists, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and many more denominations. We are united. And we are here to say: shame on you Disney for supporting hate, when love is what conquers all. We ask you to meet with us. If we do not hear from you, we will be forced to demand an international boycott of Disney through the power and reach of our combined faiths.