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  • Game over: California man accused of pretending to be a prepubescent girl online, grooming over 80 kids. 
  • Goals: Are Disney execs at odds over queer agenda?
  • Musings by Omar: Thoughts on the disability identity.

Let's go...
Hello, it’s May 10. On this day in history, Marvel Comics released the first issue of The Incredible Hulk (1962); Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa (1994); American serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed at age 52 (1994); and American FBI agent Robert Hanssen was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to spying for Moscow — the most-damaging spy ever to penetrate the FBI (2002).

California Man Pretends to Be Prepubescent Girl Online, Grooms Over 80 Kids into Making Sexually Explicit Material

A 24-year-old California man was arrested and accused of posing as a prepubescent girl online in order to lure over 80 children into making child sex abuse material. 

Demetrius Carl Davis was booked into the Sacramento County Jail and charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. 

Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that led to a months-long investigation into the suspect.

Police executed a search warrant at Davis’ house on December 1. What they found was disturbing. Davis’ electronic devices contained recordings of children, mostly between the ages of 6 and 13, engaging in sexual acts with their siblings and other children. 

According to Sheriff's Office spokesman Rodney Grassmann, “Davis is suspected of generating numerous fictitious social media accounts portraying himself as a prepubescent female child named Lizzy. Davis used these accounts to befriend and communicate with children on the internet in order to groom them."

Davis spoke to the children using sexually explicit language. He sent them child sex-abuse videos and directed them to produce similar material. 

Law enforcement is working with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to identify at least 15 additional victims living abroad. 

Grassmann encouraged parents and caregivers to check their children’s devices for any connection with a person named “Lizzy” and to report anything suspicious to the Sheriff’s Office. 

Davis is currently being held without bail.
ATP Analysis

The success Demetrius Carl Davis had in luring over 80 minors into performing sexual acts on camera demonstrates the level of failure our system has in safeguarding the vulnerable online.

Pedophiles no longer have to travel to third-world countries in order to buy and sell young children for their perverted sexual pleasure. They can now access victims for this type of activity from the comfort of their own homes. 

The inherent threat from video-sharing platforms and private or secure-message apps provides predators easy access to a child’s perceived safe space.

Society’s willingness to accept and sometimes even condone the hypersexualization of children in entertainment sends a clear message to younger generations that this is age-appropriate behavior. Don’t believe us? Read up about Netflix’s “Cuties” and other sexualized entertainment involving minors. 

Online platforms give sexual predators freedom of movement around the globe from their sofas. No amount of parental controls within an application will fully safeguard our families. Proper education and discussion within the family will help kids prepare for the online dangers awaiting them at every click.

Protect Your Family is our online counter sex-trafficking course. We encourage our readers to sign up and take the course to learn how to better protect young people from predators both online and in person. 

Are Disney Execs at Odds Over Queer Agenda?

Despite the recent pro-gay stance at Disney, executives have been accused of sending some mixed messages on their support for Florida’s HB1557, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. This has led to backlash by supporters and detractors of the bill. 

Newly signed HB1557 bans schools from teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through third grade. 

One of the most recent Disney controversies involves a same-sex kiss that was initially cut from the soon-to-be-released Pixar film “Lightyear.” A female character’s gay relationship was recently restored in a 30-minute sneak peek presented at CinemaCon last Wednesday. 

Disney initially ordered Pixar to remove the controversial kiss from the film, according to USA Today. After it was reported by the Orlando Sentinel that Disney donated $200,000 to Republicans, Pixar reinserted the scene as a protest move.

Disney left it this time.

The surprising revelation led to the recent announcement by Disney CEO Bob Chapek that the company would counter HB1557 by producing even more queer-friendly content. Chapek also announced a pause on political donations and an increase in support for LGBTQ advocacy groups. 

During a companywide Zoom meeting, Disney’s President of General Entertainment Content, Karey Burke, said as “the mother of two queer children,” she plans to drastically increase queer visibility by bumping up the number of gay characters and underrepresented minorities by 50 percent. 

Burke acknowledged that, in the past, Disney has incorporated “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters,” but she pointed to the lack of gay characters in lead roles as problematic. 

A letter was crafted by LGBTQIA+ supporters and Pixar staff in response to Chapek’s statement indicating it was simply not good enough. The letter accused Disney of censorship after the Lightyear scene was cut and claimed Disney executives have been at odds with those at Pixar trying to produce more same-sex relationship content. 

The group argued, “We, at Pixar, have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were,” the letter states. “Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
ATP Vantage Point

The entertainment industry has been working hard over the last several years to make same-sex relationships a part of the normal American landscape. Disney is also part of that movement. 

Let’s look at a list of several Disney productions that include LGBTQ characters. 

  • The Princess Diaries 2 (2004)
  • Gravity Falls (2012-2016)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • Good Luck Charlie (2014)
  • Star Vs. The Forces of Evil (2015-2019)
  • The Lodges (2016)
  • Zootopia (2016)
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017)
  • High School Musical (2019)
  • DuckTales (2017-2021)
  • Star Wars Resistance (2018-2020)
  • Andi Mack (2019)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
  • Onward (2020)
  • Out (2020)
  • Jungle Cruise (2021)
  • Eternals (2021)
  • Cruella (2021)
  • Raven’s Home (2022)

What makes “Lightyear” uniquely different is that it includes the first Disney-produced animated same-sex kiss.

In leaked footage of the Disney Zoom meeting, Burke argued that the company has only featured a “handful” of queer leads in their programming. Her goal: normalizing more gay lead characters by just incorporating their lifestyles into the script as opposed to making the story gay-specific. 

Arguably, this concept may seem relatively benign. Disney is not necessarily pushing to make more “gay” storylines. Instead, they want to have more gay couples written into the story in a matter-of-fact way. 

This is, in our estimation, quite concerning. What Burke is saying is that she wants to normalize gay lifestyles to a point where gay characters are just simply a part of the natural landscape.  

Shockingly, Disney executive producer Latoya Raveneau also proudly admitted to having a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” in leaked footage of the same meeting. “I was just, wherever I could, adding queerness,” Raveneau boasted. “If you see anything queer in the show  — no one would stop me, and no one was trying to stop me.”

The inclusion of LGBTQ characters in TV, film and other media has become a common occurrence, and most Americans are, quite frankly, becoming habituated. 

When it comes to education, Florida has taken a bold step in an attempt to remove sexuality teachings from the early grammar school years. It’s not unreasonable. During these formative years, children are like sponges, easily sopping up whatever set of beliefs and ethics adults want to teach them, and sometimes those ideas are inconsistent with the morals and beliefs of parents.

The bill prevents educators from teaching children about gender and sexual orientation at an early age. It affirms that parents are the ones to teach their young children about these issues and prevents educators with agendas from pushing their own ideas on other people’s kids.

The state of Florida already bans sex education before fifth grade. Some argue that by forbidding discussions on LGBTQ issues, children who have their own sexual identity and gender issues are left without guidance. 

This safety-net narrative is disingenuous. Once again, the idea is that teachers who are charged with educating children about reading, writing and arithmetic should also be available to coach kids through sexual and gender identity issues. They aren’t therapists. That’s not their job.

The bill puts control back on the parents. Schools must notify parents if their child receives mental health assistance and it empowers parents to lodge complaints if they disagree with the content their children are being taught in school. We believe this is how it should be, and we commend Florida for taking this courageous step.

Disney and Pixar are not part of the public education system. Therefore they can choose to feature any number of LGBTQIA+ characters they wish. It is up to parents to decide if they want their children to learn about these progressive issues via entertainment. 

If parents choose to allow their young kids to watch films and TV with gay characters, perhaps they can use them as an opportunity to discuss these issues. However parents decide to address (or not address) it, thanks to HR1557, the power is back in their hands. 

Disability as an Identity

Having gone through a difficult health situation three years ago, and always trying to push the envelope with what I can do, I’ll never understand why some people seem to want to find their identity in being disabled. 

It’s one thing if that’s your lot in life, but why seek it if your other option is health?
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