It looks like Disney is filming a new streaming show about kids at camp. They picked an actual camp to film at called “Summerkids” out in CA where a 6 year old, Roxie Forbes, drowned in 2019. Apparently the camp owner and her American Red Cross instructor certified counselors as lifeguards without providing the required training or any testing, and Roxie drowned at Summerkids while in the care of the fraudulently certified counselors. And Roxie is the daughter of a longtime Disney corporate management employee, Elena Matyas.
Matyas and her husband asked Disney to move the film location so that Disney wasn’t paying huge location rental checks to the people whose fraud resulted in the death of their child. Disney decided not to do so.
I was really surprised when I read about this. It has PR nightmare written all over it to me. I feel like Disney is usually more savvy about their image. Has anyone else heard about this? I only found the story independently reported at one place, which makes me wonder if it’s for real.
I’m not making any comment on the veracity of the story. I haven’t gone that deep into the fact-checking. The link posted is from EIN News. They’re a newswire and get paid to distribute press releases. The original source is Hundred Eighty Degress. The founder is Doug Forbes, the father of the child who died at the camp. More about them at the link.
I’ll just add that it was 3 years ago, so a lot may have changed there since then (or maybe not). It certainly gets extremally good reviews and has won numerous “Recommended” or “Best In” awards. Or to be a cynic, maybe they’re giving Disney a very good deal to film there in an attempt to get good press. Either way, it’s not very good optics for Disney.