Fact Check

Denzel Washington Declines Disney’s $50M Project, Saying ‘They’re Too Woke’?

One user remarked, "Thank you Mr. Washington for standing up to this woke crowd. Mr. Disney must be so ashamed of what his company has turned into."

Published Aug 31, 2023

Actor Denzel Washington attends the Sony Pictures Entertainment presentation of "The Equalizer 3" during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on April 24, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images) (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Image Via VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images
Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington declined a $50 million project from Disney and said the company is "just too woke."

On Aug. 30, 2023, the website USA World News on faithhopel.info published an article with the headline, "Breaking: Denzel Washington Declines Disney's $50 Million Project, 'They're Too Woke.'"

The article about the Oscar-winning actor, which also was published on newsc87.com, began as follows:

In a shocking turn of events, Denzel Washington, the actor known for his nuanced portrayals of complex characters, has turned down a whopping $50 million project with Disney. The reason? According to Washington, Disney is "just too woke" for him. While some might see this as a principled stand, others are left wondering if Washington's alarm clock is just set a few hours behind the times.

Over the past few years, Disney has been on a mission to out-woke every other studio in Hollywood. From introducing a princess who's passionate about recycling to a prince who's a vocal advocate for veganism, Disney has been ticking off every box in the progressive handbook. Rumor has it that their next project involves a musical number about composting set in the world of "Frozen". Elsa and Anna singing about the benefits of organic waste? Now that's a sequel worth waiting for.

Denzel, however, seems to have missed the memo about Hollywood's new direction. When asked about his decision, he remarked, "I just wanted to do a film about a regular guy who recycles because it's the right thing to do, not because he's trying to impress his eco-conscious love interest." Ah, the good old days when characters had depth beyond their recycling habits.

The rest of the article said that "#TooWokeForDenzel" had trended online, "with many sharing memes of Washington looking confused by modern trends like avocado toast and electric cars."

However, this story, one that cited zero sources, was completely made up.

Still, a search of the headline showed that Facebook users were sharing and commenting on the article as if Washington truly had turned down $50 million from Disney to take a stand on "wokeness."

For example, one Facebook user posted the comment, "Principals!! [sic] Something most in Hollywood, the media, and the leftist Democrats do not have. Good for you Denzel, keep standing up for what is right!"

Other users thanked Washington for supposedly taking a stand, while another person wrote, "Fuck you woke assholes."

We scanned paragraphs from the story on two AI-detection tools to see if they had been written by artificial intelligence. However, both tools on copyleaks.com and writer.com indicated the article was very likely written by a person.

According to the "About Us" page on the USA World News website, its content originated from a writer residing in Pakistan.

This rumor was similar to another claim that we previously reported about that said Washington declined a role for a Marvel movie produced by Disney that would have earned him $30 million, also purportedly due to "wokeness." However, that article was published on a website that described its content as "parody, satire and tomfoolery."

We also recently published a fact check about a false claim that said Washington had made public remarks in support of "Sound of Freedom," a film that centers on child-sex trafficking. In reality, there was no evidence he had ever made any such remarks.


"AI Content Detector." Writer, https://writer.com/ai-content-detector/.

"AI Content Detector | AI Detector | Chat GPT Detector." Copyleaks, https://copyleaks.com/ai-content-detector.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Did Denzel Washington Refuse Role In Disney's 'Woke Cinematic Universe'?" Snopes, 31 Mar. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/denzel-washington-woke-satire/.

Liles, Jordan. "Denzel Washington 'Rages at Hollywood' for Banning 'Sound of Freedom'?" Snopes, 9 Aug. 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/denzel-washington-sound-freedom/.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.