There has been a vocal contingent of the Disney fan base claiming that The Walt Disney Company has become too, well, “woke” and that its fight against discrimination has, in fact, transformed into a different kind of discrimination altogether. And they made their presence known at Disney’s Annual Meeting of the Shareholders.
According to the Notice of Annual Meeting of Shareholders and Proxy Statements, which was distributed to Disney shareholders prior to the meeting on March 9, the proposal is asking for a “Workplace Non-Discrimination Audit”:
“National Center for Public Policy Research has notified the [Disney] Company that they intend to present the following proposal for consideration… Shareholders of The Walt Disney Company (‘Disney’ or ‘Company’) request that the Board of Directors commission a workplace non-discrimination audit analyzing Disney’s impacts, including the impacts arising from Disney-sponsored or promoted employee training, on civil rights and non-discrimination in the workplace, and the impacts of those issues on Disney’s business.”
The proponent passionately argued his case during the meeting, citing the “hypocrisy” of Disney’s handling of Whoopi Goldberg’s scandal and pointing out the racist elements of Critical Race Theory. His sentiments were also present in the proposal’s supporting statement, which says:
“Concern stretches across the ideological spectrum. Some have pressured companies to adopt ‘anti-racism’ programs that seek to establish ‘racial equity,’ which appears to mean the distribution of pay and authority on the basis of race, sex, orientation and ethnic categories rather than on the basis of merit. The adoption of such programs, though, demonstrates that these ‘anti-racist’ programs are themselves deeply racist and otherwise discriminatory…
“…Disney has been similarly engaged, raising widespread concern that the Company discriminates on the basis of race and other metrics. In Disney-branded and -sponsored employee training materials, the word ‘white,’ designating the white race, remains in lowercase, while ‘black,’ designating the black race is capitalized. White employees are told, ‘[d]o not question or debate Black collegues’ lived experience.’ They are not, meanwhile encouraged to share their own indisputable lived experiences, but only to ‘[a]acknowledge and listen with empathy.’
“The Programming explicitly declares that at Disney ‘It’s Equity, not Equality.’
“Inequal treatment is discrimination.
“This discrimination instruction and treatment is not limited to a single employee-training program but has become endemic throughout Disney.”
Disney’s Board of directors recommended shareholders vote “No” on this proposal, altogether denouncing the proposal’s claims and saying, in part:
“The proponent mischaracterized the Company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the means by which it seeks to achieve those ends. This proposal also does not specifically call for enhanced disclosures or practices to improve the workplace for females or underrepresented minorities. Contrary to the proponent’s thesis, the Company is fully committed to providing a work environment in which everyone is afforded the dignity and respect that they deserve.”
The proposal was voted down by a significant margin, with all voter proxy automatically voting against it.
The voting result is a step back for all Disney fans and shareholders who are against Critical Race Theory and other actively anti-discrimination equity-over-equality policies in the workplace. Chapek followed the result by doubling down on the Company’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He also shared that he would take a group of LGBTQ+ Cast Members to Tallahassee to discuss concerns regarding the Parental Rights in Education Bill with Governor Ron DeSantis.
We at Disney Fanatic will continue to update our readers on Disney-related news as more stories come to light.