The Walt Disney Company found itself in the middle of a controversy this weekend over its anti-racism employee training program titled Reimagine Tomorrow.
Among criticisms journalists had about the program was Disney allegedly requiring employees to fill out a “privilege” questionnaire, and pushing for equity over equality in the workplace.
Disney has responded to the backlash over the program, and has released an official statement.
“These internal documents are being deliberately distorted as reflective of company policy, when in fact their purpose was to allow diversity of thought and discussion on the incredibly complex and challenging issues of race and discrimination that we as a society and companies nationwide are facing.
The Disney brand has a long history of inclusivity, with stories that reflect acceptance and tolerance and celebrate people’s differences, as we have consistently demonstrated in such popular films as Moana, Coco, Black Panther, Soul and Raya and the Last Dragon, and as a global entertainment company we are committed to continuing to tell stories that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience.”
— The Walt Disney Corporation
The journalist who broke the story, Christopher F. Rufo, took to Twitter to say that “Disney is distorting the truth.”
Disney has released a statement claiming that my reporting "distorted" their antiracism program. This is false. I published direct quotations, contextual screenshots, and the original source documents in their entirety.
Disney is distorting the truth—and I won't stand for it. pic.twitter.com/w7eEcKyduq
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) May 10, 2021
Many have weighed in on Disney’s anti-racism training program since the docs leaked late last week. Some media outlets are comparing it to Coca-Cola and the backlash that they received for telling its employees to “be less white.”
Dozens of YouTube videos have been made on the situation in a matter of days, and Disney likely had no choice but to address the situation.
Former Forbes journalist Karlyn Borysenko posted an hour-long breakdown of the documents earlier today.
Disney has received backlash from some fans for seemingly “picking a side” in the increasingly polarized political climate that is America 2021.
In January, Disney cut off political donations to Republican members of Congress who objected to certification of Electoral College votes.
In February, Disney-owned Lucasfilm fired actress Gina Carano (Cara Dune) off of The Mandalorian for a series of tweets they deemed “abhorrent.” This lead to severe public backlash, and even being called out by investors and Forbes.
ABC’s Dana Walden has gone on record as saying that they’ve passed on excellent TV series pitches because they weren’t diverse enough.
Despite this, Disney CEO Bob Chapek insists that Disney is apolitical.
“I don’t really see Disney as characterizing itself as left leaning or right leaning, (but) instead standing for values, values that are universal, values of respect, values of decency, values of integrity and values of inclusion,” he said. “And we seek to have not only how we operate, but the content that we make reflective of the rich diversity of the world that we live in. And I think that’s a world that we all should live in, in harmony and peace.”
Pirates & Princesses (PNP) is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Disney and Universal Theme Parks, Themed Entertainment and related Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of PNP, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. PNP is an unofficial news source and has no connection to The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal or any other company that we may cover.