Dana Walden, Walt Disney Television's chairwoman, said the company wanted to produce content that reflected their audience.
Disney has confirmed that inclusivity and diversity are a pre-requisite for their projects. A Disney executive said the company has passed on “well-written” television shows because they didn't meet the inclusivity and diversity standards required. Dana Walden, Walt Disney Television's chairwoman of entertainment, said the network passed on a project centered around a White family with diverse characters serving as supporting characters. "That's not going to get on the air anymore because that's not what our audience wants,” said Walden during a panel discussion hosted by Chapman University and Glamour, reported Washington Examiner. “That's not a reflection of our audience, and I feel good about the direction we're moving.”
“Intersectionality is the essence of existence. We are all woven together with so many layers, which is what makes us so unique." —Hannah Said, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Disney #ArabAmericanHeritageMonth pic.twitter.com/1Bstv6rPRs— Disney (@Disney) April 28, 2021
ABC, which is owned by Walt Disney, announced similar diversity standards last September to make their content as “inclusive as possible,” wrote Simran Sethi, the company's executive vice president of development and content, in an email to producers, showrunners, casting directors, and executives. "We want to take this moment to evaluate systems and habits in an effort to remove barriers to access and opportunity,” wrote Sethi. “It’s important for us to look around the room, see who’s not there, and then take the steps to not only bring them in, but also set them up for success.” The company is also making a push for better representation, issuing guidelines to make 50% of actors and 50% of characters on ABC programs represent “underrepresented groups.” The guidelines also call for similar standards across the production team including directors, producers, writers, and other crew members.
Dana Walden also announced that changes will be implemented in Hulu as well. Disney acquired a majority stake in the online streaming service. It was also announced that content created by minority storytellers will be “curated by executives of color [and] high-level leaders” at Disney. Earlier this year, Walt Disney removed many of its iconic movies from its streaming service's children's profile citing "negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures." Disney acknowledged some of its older content was problematic and/or racist and thus is being made available only to Adult Disney Plus profiles with a content warning. Some of the films removed from children's profiles include Peter Pan, Swiss Family Robinson, and Dumbo. Last October, the entertainment company announced it was including a content warning to some of the movies but now, it has confirmed that they will not be available on children's profiles on the streamer.
"This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures," reads the content warning. "These stereotypes were wrong then and are wrong now. Rather than remove this content, we want to acknowledge its harmful impact, learn from it, and spark conversation to create a more inclusive future together. Disney is committed to creating stories with inspirational and aspirational themes that reflect the rich diversity of the human experience around the globe."
"As part of our ongoing commitment to diversity and inclusion, we are in the process of reviewing our library and adding advisories to content that includes negative depictions or mistreatment of people or cultures. Rather than removing this content, we see an opportunity to spark conversation and open dialogue on history that affects us all. We also want to acknowledge that some communities have been erased or forgotten altogether, and we're committed to giving voice to their stories as well," said Disney in a statement.
The company had announced then that it would be more inclusive in its future projects. "Stories shape how we see ourselves and everyone around us. So as storytellers, we have the power and responsibility to not only uplift and inspire, but also consciously, purposefully, and relentlessly champion the spectrum of voices and perspectives in our world," reads the Disney website.