October 15, 2018

Disney Diversity Officer: We Seek Your Help to End Disney Bigotry

How would you feel, Ms. Newton, if Disney decided to fund and air a program which depicted the majority of Black youth as under-educated criminals…or the majority of young black women as unwed mothers? Wouldn’t you be outraged?

October 15, 2018

Ms. Latondra Newton
Senior VP & Chief Diversity Officer
The Walt Disney Company

Dear Ms. Newton,

It’s a funny thing about diversity in our culture. It seems that everybody is preaching it, but diversity really only happens under the protection of law or the outrage of the public which becomes law. Look at the workplace, at Disney, for example. Disney prides itself on having “a multitude of voices, ideas and sensibilities,” and a corporate counsel awarded for diversity. But contrast that with its practice of funding and airing bigotry and hatred against minority religions, through a vehicle that encourages discrimination by the viewing public and one has to wonder how “diverse” they really are.

Let’s be honest, Disney has a diversity program because they have to. They have to have a strong stance on diversity in the workplace or face the “L” word. And I don’t mean “L” as in LGBT either. I’m talking about “L” as in litigation. So, as a long-time Scientologist, who just happens to work at a top 10 international law firm, I know what workplace diversity is: it’s my protection from harassment by people who have formed an erroneous opinion about my religion after watching Leah Remini’s Scientology: The Aftermath, which your company funds and airs. Don’t kid yourself. It’s a form of discrimination.

How would you feel, Ms. Newton, if Disney decided to fund and air a program which depicted the majority of Black youth as under-educated criminals…or the majority of young black women as unwed mothers? Wouldn’t you be outraged? Would you support and work for a company who did that? I don’t think you would. So why allow religious bigotry to get a firm foothold at Disney? It’s just as bad, and sets a dangerous precedent toward moral decline in our country.

It’s a known fact that hate begets violence. For example, HuffPost reported that desensitization works slowly but effectively to make violence against minority groups acceptable. Pacific Standard reported that “A study from Poland finds exposure to angry, hostile content targeting specific groups indirectly increases people’s prejudices.” CNN reports that there “are already hints that the United States is becoming more intolerant.”

Disney has long had the reputation of producing content of a high moral standard and has (until recently) been the epitome of family-based entertainment. Tolerance should continue to be a cornerstone of Disney philosophy.

Please, Ms. Newton, I’m sure your voice could go far to end the deplorable route Disney has taken with Ms. Remini’s show. Show the world that diversity is not just about workplace enforcement. Help Disney get back to the high road.

Sincerely,

Eva Mahoney
Baldwinsville, N.Y.

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