New Report Exposes Disney’s Surprising Position for Representation and Inclusion Initiatives

Disney representation and inclusion
Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company has navigated an incredibly divisive and increasingly volatile world of audience expectations in recent years. While the entertainment giant has expressed a commitment to representation and inclusion in its theatrical and streaming offerings, some critics have taken issue with Disney’s initiatives and voiced concerns that the company is pushing a “woke” agenda. Nevertheless, Disney has not been deterred, and a new report shows just how committed the studio is to this social cause. Its position on this list of LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion from major studios may be celebrated by some but loathed by others.

strange world and lightyear

Credit: Disney

GLAAD Studio Responsibility Index

GLAAD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing LGBTQ advocacy and promoting cultural change. Their mission is to ensure that LGBTQ individuals are portrayed fairly, accurately, and inclusively in media and society. GLAAD serves as a powerful voice for the LGBTQ community, sharing their stories, providing resources, and advocating for their rights. They actively engage in challenging issues and spark conversations to ensure genuine LGBTQ+ narratives are visible and heard.

The company releases a detailed report every year called the Studio Responsibility Index. The aim of this document is to expose how each studio is faring when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion. The organization just released its annual report for 2022, and the Walt Disney Company has claimed the top spot for LGBTQ+ inclusiveness. Of 59 films released under the studio in 2022, 24 included LGBTQ+ characters or themes. This is a staggering 41% of releases, beating out other major studios like Netflix and NBCUniversal. GLAAD stated:

Considering the quality, quantity, and diversity of films distributed under the Walt Disney Company and its labels, GLAAD has given The Walt Disney Company a GOOD grade

GLAAD 2022 Inclusion Report

Credit: GLAAD

Disney Representation and Inclusion

GLAAD has given the Walt Disney Company a “GOOD” grade, particularly due to all five of its theatrical releases in 2022 including LGBTQ+ characters amongst their roster. The organization highlighted Lightyear and Strange World as groundbreaking in the kids and family category. Furthermore, Hulu releases such as Fire Island and Crush were mentioned as standout offerings for LGBTQ+ representation. GLAAD also pointed out that Disney made a “huge improvement” in the last several years and hopes to see even further LGBTQ+ representation in the future.

MAGA man claims Disney is advertising gayness to kids

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Bob Iger Comments on Disney’s Role in Social Conflicts

While this news is obviously a victory for advocates of LGBTQ+ representation and inclusion, it is worth noting that not everyone finds Disney’s top spot as something to celebrate. The company has been embroiled in a culture war, particularly with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, over what some perceive as a progressive “woke agenda.” This ideology has caused many to lament Disney’s recent initiatives, calling for the studio to stop pushing LGBTQ+ themes and stick to less polarizing themes.

Disney movie representation

Credit: Disney

Disney CEO Bob Iger might be granting these detractors their wish. In a now-famous interview with MSNBC in July, Iger made a statement that hinted at a change in the company’s direction. He expressed a desire to avoid Disney becoming entangled in cultural conflicts, especially in the context of the controversy surrounding the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and the company’s response to it.

Iger also recently emphasized that Disney will “quiet the noise” in cultural debates. He further solidified this stance during an annual shareholder meeting in April, emphasizing that Disney’s primary mission should be to provide entertainment and positively impact the world. He stressed that any particular agenda should not drive this mission. However, some deem it too late to change course now.

It will be interesting to see where Bob Iger takes the company in terms of LGBTQ+ representation in the future. While GLAAD seems excited that the company will continue to trend upward, Iger’s comments don’t necessarily give a reason for it to celebrate this as fact. For better or worse, the studio is at a crossroads right now. It can either stay on its path or give in to the demands of its loud critics.

About Michael Stoyanoff

Michael is a Disney fan with an entertainment background and passion for writing. Living in Orlando, he has been around the theme parks for over a decade. In his free time he enjoys running, playing video games, and traveling the world. He also loves hanging out with his dog, Mr. Pippers the Pug.

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