Radio Disney has withdrawn from an oil and gas industry roadshow for children, The Hill reports.
The Rocking in Ohio bus tour visited 26 schools and science centers in the state last month. Radio Disney staffers led demonstrations to show how oil and gas pipelines work, Al Jazeera America reports.
Disney’s participation sparked outrage, with one petition gathering over 83,000 signatures.
But while The HIll describes the tour as “pro-hydraulic fracturing,” the industry-funded Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program, which ran the tour, said the word “fracking” was never used in the demonstrations.
Statements by the industry group indicate that the program was designed as a propaganda tool. “Our country cannot survive without oil and gas,” OOGEEP’s Ron Grosjean told the Wooster, Ohio, Daily Record. “Kids are the best way (to spread the message). They retain (the information); they remember it.”
But Radio Disney said it had joined the program solely to foster children’s interest in science and technology. “Having been inadvertently drawn into a debate that has no connection with this goal, Radio Disney has decided to withdraw from the few remaining installments of the program,” the company said.
Participation in this program seems a rare branding misstep for Disney, which was recently named as the company with the best reputation for citizenship, and the best corporate citizen in the media and entertainment sector.
Takeaway: Association with an oil and gas industry campaign was a particularly bad match for Disney, whose brand image is founded on positive interactions with children.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.
Picture credit: OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology