(UnitedVoice.com) – Disney has experienced a tremendous amount of upheaval over the last couple of years. The entertainment giant is also currently embroiled in a battle with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). Now, another of its executives is leaving the company.
On June 20, Sonia Coleman, Disney’s human resources officer, sent a memo to staff members announcing the departure of Latondra Newton, the company’s senior vice president and chief diversity officer. She served in the role for six years.
During Newton’s tenure, the company removed gendered language like “girls and boys” in the parks. The “Fairy Godmothers in Training” title was changed to “Fairy Godmother’s Apprentices” to allow cast members to play dress up with kids without being called by a female’s name. She also helped launch Reimagine Tomorrow to help amplify underrepresented voices. The company also sought to introduce diversity into its films. For instance, when it created the live-action “The Little Mermaid” film, Disney cast a black actress to play Ariel instead of a white, red-headed actress. The film only made just over $3 million at the box office in the month since its release.
Coleman’s memo said Newton spent her years in the company “dedicated to ensuring every person sees themselves” and experiences their lives in a “meaningful and authentic way.” She thanked her for her years of contributions and the “lasting impact she has had on [its] employees and [its] culture.”
In 2022, Disney fired CEO Bob Chapek and reinstalled its previous chief executive, Bob Iger. The decision both stunned some and was welcomed by others. The ousted leader was at the helm of the company in 2022, when it spoke out against the Florida law that critics had dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. It prohibited teachers from talking about gender or sex with public school kids in kindergarten through third grade.
Chapek’s decision to attack the law DeSantis signed caused the GOP governor to retaliate by stripping the company of its special district status in Florida, which led to a lawsuit and legal headache.
The company also cut 7,000 jobs in 2023, handing out the last notices before the Memorial Day weekend. The pink slips were reportedly related to the entertainment side of the business, which has had some difficulty, partly because of the company’s decision to include characters that are members of the LGBTQ+ community in its shows and movies.
Disney intends to hire someone to replace Newton, who will be joining the board of another company and focusing on her own business.
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