A top diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer is departing Disney amid ongoing backlash against the company from conservatives, Variety reports.
Former Disney executive Latondra Newton announced she is leaving Disney to join the corporate board of another, unnamed, company, the outlet reported Wednesday, citing an internal memo. Newton began working at Disney in 2017, and the company is now looking for a new person to fill the position. (RELATED: Disney’s Reputation Tanks After Polarizing Feud With DeSantis: POLL)
Newton is departing the company to “pursue other endeavors,” according to a staff note from Disney HR chief Sonia Coleman cited by Variety. The former executive was passionate about “ensuring every person sees themselves and their life experiences represented in a meaningful and authentic way,” the note reads.
Disney’s Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton Exits (EXCLUSIVE) https://t.co/i2n1qd2eMU
— Variety (@Variety) June 21, 2023
Julie Merges, another HR executive, will take over Newton’s responsibilities in the interim.
Newton partnered “with various business segments and leaders across the enterprise to build on Disney’s commitment to produce entertainment that reflects a global audience and sustains a welcoming and inclusive workplace for everyone,” her official bio on The Walt Disney Company’s website reads. “Ms. Newton has been recognized as a forward-thinking and progressive leader in business and diversity and inclusion throughout her career.” (RELATED: Gov. DeSantis Calls Out Disney Supporting ‘Sexualizing Kindergarteners’ And ‘Lining Their Pockets’ Off The CCP)
Disney faced pushback from conservatives in recent years over promoting left-wing social justice issues on their platforms. The company got into a high-profile battle with Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over a parental rights bill Disney deemed “anti-gay.” The company has been accused of promoting left-wing and radical racial narratives in their children’s shows. Recent Disney films promoting left-wing messages have bombed at the box office, with critics attributing the low ratings to poor marketing and promotion tactics.