Image via Disney
A background photo on the Walt Disney Imagineering website
As the summer turns to fall, the lasting impacts of this summer’s racial unrest is being realized. From Hollywood
to New York’s financial institutions
, new commitments and better-informed attempts at actively undoing the racism ingrained in much of society are being rolled out.
In late May, Disney leadership committed
to strengthening its “commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere.” At that time, they didn’t know what that would look like, noting, “We intend to focus our efforts and resources to compassionately and constructively talk about these matters openly and honestly as we seek solutions. We intend to keep the conversation going, not just today, but for as long as it takes to bring about real change.”
Now, roughly four months later, Disney has unveiled long-term changes in an effort to realize these commitments.
In a post on Disney’s internal website, they confirmed a significant shift in the foundational training program that all Cast Members are required to attend.
“For more than 60 years, the Four Keys of Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency have provided a foundation for our culture and guided our renowned approach to service as we’ve welcomed Guests from all over the world.
As we keep moving forward and working together to drive meaningful cultural change, we are introducing Inclusion as a new key and will be rolling out the Five Keys globally across the segment.”
Image via Josh D'Amaro | Instagram
Disney Parks Chairman Josh D'Amaro shared a photo on Instagram of Disney Cast and Imagineers that worked to open DHS's Rise of the Resistance Star Wars-themed ride. Many fans noted the lack of obvious racial diversity within the photo.
The pre-existing Four Keys
are built on a hierarchy, with Safety always coming first and Efficiency always being the last thing to be considered. It’s still unclear where Inclusion will be listed within the ladder or if a new non-hierarchical way of approaching the Keys will be implemented. Some have noted that previously Inclusion was built into the Courtesy Key. But by breaking it off into its own Key, Disney ensures that inclusion training will be paramount moving forward.
The additional Key is also significant in that Disney’s training system is frequently copied by other companies
, so by specifically listing Inclusion, it helps ensure that others who copy Disney will understand its significance. Multiple studies have now proven diversity is advantageous to a company beyond the obvious ones. According to the World Economic Forum
, it plays a direct role in increased creativity, stronger governance, better problem-solving abilities, and increased profitability.
Beyond the Inclusion Key, it is believed that Disney has created
an attractions diversity and values review team charged with reviewing various ethnic and racial portrayals in Disney attractions. It’s unclear if this team is behind the high profile redo of Splash Mountain, where Princess and the Frog will replace the problematic Song of the South theme, but other attractions such as Peter Pan’s Flight, Jungle Cruise, and Hoop de Doo Review are also rumored to be under review.
Image via Disney
A surprising lack of diversity within the Tron workforce.
The Inclusion Key and review team will hopefully be just the first steps towards a more diverse Disney corporation. Disney has been criticized
for the lack of diversity within leadership. In the recently released veterinarian focused reality show Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there was a noteworthy lack of diversity
. Similar criticism has been lodged against various project teams, photos of which show little to no obvious racial diversity.
Disney has yet to confirm what training for the new Key will entail or when it will be rolled out. No timeline for the Splash Mountain redo and other updates have also yet to be shared.
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