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Disney demonstrators released on bail

The quartet was arrested while protesting the alleged use of fiber from endangered forests.

May 20, 2011|By Gretchen Meier,

Four environmental activists who were arrested Wednesday after chaining themselves to the entrance gate and unfurling a banner at Walt Disney Studios have been released after posting $1,000 bail.

Two members of Rainforest Action Network dressed as Mickey and Minnie Mouse bolted themselves to the gates of the studio lot while two more climbed to display a large banner beneath the Walt Disney Co. sign.

Jennifer Binstock, 29, of San Francisco; Christopher Toomey, 52, of Redondo Beach; Blake Hodges, 26, of Irvine; and Alexia Dickason, 27, of Los Angeles, were arrested while protesting the studio’s use of fiber from endangered Indonesian rain forests in its children’s books.


Laurel Southerlin, communications manager for the advocacy group’s forest program, said the protest was staged to send a message to Disney about its environmental practices.

Rainforest Action Network hired an independent laboratory to test the top 10 publishers of children’s books in the United States and found that nine out of the 10 tested positive for fibers indigenous to Indonesia’s rain forests. Use of the rain forest threatens endangered species like the Sumatran tiger, Southerlin said.

Eight of the nine have made public commitments to stop producing books from endangered resources, Southerlin said, but Disney’s response was unacceptable and too vague for the group.

“We are hoping that Disney hears this loud and clear message to actually take action and put out a real policy,” he said.

In a statement released after the arrests on Wednesday, Disney called the actions by Rainforest Action Network “nothing more than a publicity stunt.”

Disney has pledged to work only with manufacturers who have committed to using only sustainable paper, according to the statement.

Jason Wells contributed to this report.

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