The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

m-o-e, r-a-t
As if you needed more of a reminder that Disney's corporate mascot was a rodent, the International Longshoremen's Association is getting hassled by the House of Mouse for using a parody of Mickey Mouse, dubbed "Moe the Rat", in their protest against Disney's use of non-union workers for its cruise line.
"Moe the Rat is the method by which we are expressing our free speech, since it grabs the public's attention, and they will read the message," said union attorney Neil Flaxman of Coral Gables. "Disney Cruise Line refuses to allow us to give out leaflets to the public on port property, and we believe it's a violation of our First Amendment rights of freedom of expression."

"Moe the Rat is an acronym for 'More Opportunity for Employees,' " Flaxman said. "We're not targeting Disney, but we do want to get our message to the public."...

We've been getting some great reactions," [union member Charles] Barton said. "Cabbies are giving us the thumbs-up, bus drivers tell us to keep going, and families smile and wave at us, thinking Moe's a new Disney character."
Ironically, that last comment about families thinking Moe is a new Disney character would work against the union--it basically proves Disney's argument that their brand is being misrepresented.

Incidentally, the International Longshormen's Association is a pretty formidable opponent. They were behind that West Coast strike a couple of years ago that virtually shut down the Pacific ports for a time. They're one of the most successful unions around, and Disney will have their hands full if they keep fighting them.