BY Johnathan Jones, The Western JournalJune 22, 2023
1 year ago
 | June 22, 2023
1 year ago

Disney Diversity Executive Exits Post After Back-to-Back Box Office Flops

Disney’s chief diversity officer and the director of its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives has left the company, which is currently reeling from two recent box office flops.

Variety reported senior vice president Latondra Newton left the multimedia giant, staffers were told through a company email earlier this week.

Disney chief human resources officer Sonia Coleman wrote that Newton “decided to leave The Walt Disney Company to pursue other endeavors.”

Coleman continued:

“Since joining the company in 2017, Latondra has led the company’s strategic diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, including partnering with stakeholders across the enterprise to amplify stories of the world by people around the world.

"She has been dedicated to ensuring every person sees themselves and their life experiences represented in a meaningful and authentic way.”

Variety reported Newton would join the board of another company, but it is unclear what that company might be.

It is not clear why the former executive chose to leave the company, but Disney has dropped back-to-back box office failures that some moviegoers deemed “woke.”

The $200 million animated Pixar film “Elemental” dropped last week and is taking a bruising in theaters.

The children’s film features a “nonbinary” character.

Disney released a live-action remake of the classic “The Little Mermaid” last month that also underperformed.

The character of Ariel and her signature red hair was scrapped as the studio tapped black actress Halle Bailey to play the title character.

The film made back its budget and some but it performed poorly in China -- a market Hollywood relies on for profits.

Such a film should have crossed the $1 billion mark but had only earned $470 million worldwide as of Thursday.

While Disney’s spring and summer films have underperformed, Universal’s animated hit "The Super Mario Bros. Movie” dropped in April and it never veered away from the storylines of the original Nintendo games.

The film is a salute to the games in the Mario series that audiences flocked to.

It had hauled in more than $1.3 billion as of this past week.

It is not clear if Newton’s role as diversity officer shaped Disney’s creative decisions.

Deadline shared an excerpt of a memo she co-signed in the summer of 2020 after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the ensuing civil unrest.

The memo, which was also signed by Disney CEO Bob Iger, stated those in the company would “use our compassion, our creative ideas and our collective sense of humanity to ensure we are fostering a culture that acknowledges our people’s feelings and their pain.”

The memo added, “We also realize that now more than ever is the time for us all to further strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Johnathan Jones, The Western Journal



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