Disney Just As Bad As Nickelodeon At Hiring Predators, Here’s The Proof

By Brian Myers | Published

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The 2024 docuseries Quiet on the Set might have exposed children’s television studio Nickelodeon for having convicted sex offender Brian Peck on its payroll, but history shows us that entertainment giant Disney is just as bad, if not worse than the cable channel that brought the world Drake & Josh and All That. During the 1990s, Disney put director Victor Salva at the helm of one of its films, generating controversy that seems to be long forgotten.

Director Of Powder Guilty Of Abuse

When the film Powder was released to theaters in 1995, a young man who helped put Salva behind bars in the late 1980s came forward once again to call for theatergoers to boycott Disney’s latest film production.

Victor Salva was at one time considered to be the protégé of acclaimed film director Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now, The Godfather). His short film Something in the Basement (1986) was a hit on the film festival circuit and was a catalyst in getting Coppola and Salva introduced to one another. Seven years before Disney hired Salva, Coppola afforded him the opportunity to write and direct a horror film, which debuted at Sundance in 1988 as Clownhouse.

Abused The Star Of Clownhouse

What has been considered by many horror fans to be a hidden gem among the over-saturated horror film market of the 1980s, Clownhouse was the subject of serious scrutiny when it was revealed that Victor Salva sexually abused the film’s 12-year-old star during its production. After helping get Salva convicted of several charges, victim Nathan Forrest Winters organized a well-publicized boycott of Salva’s next major motion picture, the Disney film Powder.

Salva Has Had A Lot Of Success

Victor Salva was originally sentenced to serve three years in prison for his crimes but was released on parole after only spending 15 months behind bars. He wrote and directed a direct-to-video horror film in 1995 named Nature of the Beast before Disney tapped him to write and direct Powder. Amid the controversy surrounding having a convicted sex offender attached to one of their films, Disney stated that they were only made aware of Salva’s criminal conviction after the production had begun.

The boycott of Disney led by Victor Salva’s victim did nothing to really derail the director’s career trajectory. Salva wrote and directed all three original films in the Jeepers Creepers series, which grossed a cumulative total of more than $100 million at the box office.

Disney’s Decision Making Called Into Question

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Victor Salva isn’t the only person that Disney has had on their payroll who has gone afoul of the law for sex crimes. In 2014, the Huffington Post reported that Disney had almost three dozen of its employees arrested for various child sex charges over a 10-year period. In 2022, CBS reported that four additional employees of the company were arrested as part of a large sting operation surrounding human trafficking.

A company as large as Disney is certain to have a few bad apples on its theme park and film studio payrolls that slip in under the radar. But some question the entertainment giant’s decision to keep someone convicted of a child sex crime at the helm of one of its films after it was made aware of his serious offenses.

The Impact Of Quiet On The Set

If the docuseries Quiet on the Set has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes production companies don’t want to admit to the inconvenient truths surrounding some of the people they rely on for creativity. Hopefully, Disney learned its lesson with Victor Salva and is able and willing to better vet its filmmakers.