In its most recent special, South Park mocked Disney for its recent decline in box office success, criticizing the studio for reusing familiar concepts but incorporating diverse casting. The episode specifically targeted Kathleen Kennedy, head of Lucasfilm, while also addressing online trolls who have relentlessly targeted the executive in recent years. This portrayal has prompted responses from various right-wing celebrities, including Elon Musk and former Mandalorian star Gina Carano.
JUST IN: New South Park episode blasts Disney and says all their movies “suck now” and specifically blames Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.
“Joining the Panderverse” drops today and all of the main characters have been replaced by minority women, an obvious… pic.twitter.com/ebaXBZhypI
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) October 27, 2023
In the 47-minute special titled “Joining the Panderverse,” which debuted on Paramount+ last Friday, Cartman becomes anxious about the prospect of being replaced by a diverse woman (“I had a dream I was replaced by a diverse woman!” he cries. “Only this time, it wasn’t me, they were taking all my favorite people and replacing them with diverse women who complain about the patriarchy! … And Disney stock keeps going down and down!”). The storyline unfolds as a portal to the multiverse opens, resulting in his replacement by a Black woman, while Cartman is transported to a universe inhabited solely by women of color. Cartman’s friends express dissatisfaction with the new Cartman, arguing that the change “doesn’t make any sense.” Their objections are countered by their “PC Principal,” who accuses them of being intolerant, saying, “If you don’t think Eric Cartman can be a Black woman, then maybe the problem is you,” He draws a comparison, mentioning, “You probably don’t like there’s a Black Spider-Man,” but the kids rebut, stating, “No! Miles Morales is sweet! That’s a whole constructed thing with its own character and narrative. This is just taking the same old Cartman and putting a Black woman in it!”
The narrative then transitions to a gathering of Disney executives, where CEO Bob Iger is visibly frustrated. “We don’t understand it, sir,” one executive informs Iger. “We keep making the same movie over and over and pandering to everyone, but suddenly it’s not working.” Iger responds, “Then we’ve got to pander harder!” It is revealed that the disruption in the multiverse was caused by Lucasfilm’s Kennedy, who accessed a clandestine Disney artifact, the “panderstone,” which the studio has been utilizing to rework identical concepts in attempts to appeal to the widest audience possible. An alternate universe version of Kennedy consistently provides the same directive for every franchise project (“Put a chick in it! Make her lame and gay!”).
The latest South Park is 🔥
All of the cast has been changed to diverse characters by Disney executives.
It shows Disney having meetings where every movie they bring up, Kathleen Kennedy just says “Put a chick in it and make her gay.” pic.twitter.com/EtzuYOWlDk
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) October 29, 2023
When Cartman finally encounters the actual Kennedy, she highlights the significant backlash she faced despite her well-meaning initiatives. “Then came the hate mail, ugly letters from racists who couldn’t stand that some of the panderstone’s rehashes had diverse women characters in the lead. I decided I would make movies that fight all bigotry in our society. But instead of doing the real work, I instead turned to the panderstone. … I was fighting with the wrong tool. All I ever wanted was to make great entertainment, but as soon as you start getting piles of hate mail, endless messages calling you the c-word, you can’t think straight. … I’m sorry I was so reckless with the things you love, it was just lazy.” Cartman responds, “Well, I’m sorry I wrote all those letters … I guess just railing on woke stuff all the time is pretty lazy, too.”
Elon Musk shared a laughing emoji along with the word “timely.”
Carano, who exited Mandalorian in 2021 following a string of controversial online remarks, utilized the episode as an opportunity to criticize Kennedy (alongside the Hollywood publications). Writing on X, she expressed, “This is the part where [Kennedy] demands any YouTubers get censored off of YouTube for sharing and laughing at this hilarious episode, she’ll have YouTube disable the thumbs down option because of the ratio she’ll receive, then she’ll have her publicist ghouls make sure Variety and Hollywood Reporter run hit pieces about the South Park creators and their families smearing their names through every useful idiot she has under her thumb who would sell their soul to work for Lucas film, she’ll activate her online mob to repeat that the South Park creators are racist, bigot, transphobes, and demand the South Park creators publicly apologize by only using words she approves of and finally she’ll demand they subject themselves to a re-education course of 45 people in the lbgtq community zoom call to sit there and listen of how badly they got their feelings hurt all over a little boop of a South Park episode. But maybe just maybe the jig is up.”
Do you always call a woman crazy just because she has more first hand experience than you & says something you don’t like or understand?
Bit misogynistic don’t ya think. Tsk tsk.
Curious if your overlords pay you or do y’all just go ahead & shove your whole head straight up… https://t.co/E6eBNMqjpo
— Gina Carano 🕯 (@ginacarano) October 29, 2023
It’s important to note that solely blaming Kennedy for Disney’s broader challenges in box office performance and stock decline is unfair. Lucasfilm operates as a subsidiary of Disney, and while Kennedy has faced criticism regarding her management of the Star Wars franchise in the past decade, marked by declining box office revenues and significant creative changes behind the scenes, she doesn’t oversee Disney’s complete lineup. Moreover, she isn’t considered the sole architect behind the company’s perceived progressive approach (which involved public disputes with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over anti-LGBTQ measures and increased representation in casting and characters across Disney’s various divisions, including Pixar). On Kennedy’s positive track record, The Mandalorian was widely recognized as a massive success among both critics and fans (albeit, until the recent third-season downturn), and it played a pivotal role in the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. Additionally, last year’s Andor was arguably one of the most well-received Star Wars projects in recent memory. However, some other Lucasfilm productions, such as Obi-Wan and Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, haven’t performed as strongly.
Kennedy stands out as the most prominent female entertainment executive within the company, and quite possibly throughout Hollywood. It’s likely not coincidental that numerous online critics direct an overwhelming amount of attention towards her, rather than focusing on figures such as Disney CEO Iger or Marvel president Kevin Feige. The magnitude of negative online commentary directed at her — not just confined to comments but perpetuated across numerous articles on various platforms, frequently speculating on her imminent dismissal — has appeared excessive in the past. This discrepancy in attention is one of the focal points that South Park aims to address.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter