‘Woke’ Disney is Back: Hidden Video Reveals Company’s Hiring Practices

Mickey Mouse Bob Iger
Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

When the Walt Disney Company was feuding with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, one of the barbs the governor would throw at Disney was that the company had “gone woke.” This became a rallying cry for those who were against anything Disney did.

Cancel culture in media with a phone and picket sign saying Get Woke Go Broke, Mickey mouse to left, Disney logo in background

Credit: Disney / Inside the Magic

However, after Governor DeSantis and Disney buried the hatchet, those cries died down, until now. Twentieth Century Television Senior Vice President Michael Giordano was caught on a hidden video saying that Disney explicitly does not hire “white men” for specific roles.

Michael Giordano’s comments are only a few minutes in the video, with some intermittent reactions; however, Giordano says some damaging things about Disney’s hiring practices and inclusion policies.

Certainly, there have been times where, you know, there’s no way we’re hiring a white man for this…. There are times when it’s spoken. 

Reporter: How would they say it?

There’s no way we’re hiring a white man for this role. They’d be very careful how they’d message that to agents. 

Giordano says that Disney CEO Bob Iger “100 percent” has a say in ensuring diversity in casting on Disney’s shows and movies. While it is not a directive from Bob Iger, he says there should be “a certain amount of diversity” in each show.

The reporter asked if this initiative came from Latondra Newton, Disney’s former Chief Diversity Officer, who is African American and left her job last year. However, Senior VP Michael Giordano said that other people in human resources are also focused on diversity in the company.

Giordano went on to say that while only 10-15 percent of the population is gay, he estimates that a third or more of Disney’s writers are gay, and they “lean into gay and transgender stories.”

He went on to say that when it comes to Disney’s hiring practices, there are “certain people that they won’t see.” He said:

When it comes to diversity, there is a belief that it’s just good for society. But there’s also a belief that it’s going to make more money if we appeal to a wider variety of people and it’s a good thing.

We have shareholders too. There are conservative people who don’t lean into it, but you can make the argument that we make more money if we appeal to a wider variety of people. 

Giordano even focused on his career moving forward, saying he is “one step below being a department head,” but as far as Disney is concerned, he’s only “a white male.”

Areil (Halle Bailey) looking at Sebastian (Daveed Diggs) during Under the Sea as Seahorses swim by

Credit: Disney

Disney has come under fire for its diverse casting, including casting Halle Bailey, who is African American, in the live-action The Little Mermaid (2023) and Rachel Zegler, who is Latina, in the live-action Snow White (2025). 

It is unclear whether Giordano knew he was being filmed or who the person interviewing him was. However, later in the video, there is a location and clothing change, which may mean this taping took place over multiple meetings.

The Walt Disney Company has not commented on the leaked video. However, several comments on X (formerly Twitter) call for a boycott of Disney over its DEI and hiring practices.

DEI Lawsuit

Earlier this year, Stephen Miller, Former Adviser to President Donald Trump and his American First Legal, filed a lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that The Walt Disney Company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964. This act bans employment discrimination by prohibiting companies from using race, color, religion, sex, or national origin merely as motivating factors for hiring, training, or promotions.

The former Donald Trump adviser sued The Walt Disney Company after an alleged document from the company showing Disney’s inclusion standards was leaked. The document shows the “underrepresented groups” ratio that must be included in Disney’s films, creative leadership, and behind-the-scenes roles.

Elon Musk originally leaked the document that Stephen Miller and America First Legal use on X (formerly Twitter). Musk released the documents shortly after X and Gina Carano announced they were suing Disney over Carano’s firing from the Star Wars show The Mandalorian.

What do you think of Disney’s DEI and hiring practices?

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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