Yeah. We did it. We used that word “woke” again in a headline. We get it, and we agree, that the word “woke” has joined “nazi”, “racist”, “sexist” and many other “-ist” words as being so overused as to have almost no meaning. Yet as a word, it does encapsulate a meaning that also perfectly describes where Disney now finds itself. As we previously explained, this is how we define “woke” editorially around here:
“Adopting more extreme intersectional, identarian, conformist positions, usually from a perceived victim viewpoint, as an automatic default and in defiance of logic and evidence.”
The phrase “Get woke, go broke” is similarly now something of a cliche, and yet it keeps being proved true. A few months ago one of our Outposters dropped a trading tip to short Disney stock at a certain level. This week they were looking like they may be proven correct. It is the Disney earnings call later today. How bad can things get for the House Of Mouse? In the face of the latest whistleblower revelations from inside the happiest totalitarian dictatorship on Earth, much worse. Brace yourself, some of this is jaw-dropping.
Snow White And The Seven Thought Police
WDW Pro via YouTube, Bounding Into Comics, and Next TV, among others, are reporting on some revelations from inside Disney that paint a picture of total institutional capture. With Haunted Mansion now lined up to become their twelfth straight total failure at the box office, it is clear things are seriously wrong. The suspicion has long been voiced that political posturing, virtue signaling, and current-year thinking were taking precedence over storytelling, quality control, and customer-centricity.
Why else would a previously high-performing company seem to be plowing on, regardless, in the face of such obvious failures without a major change of cultural direction? The allegations from the whistleblower, backed up by leaked documents, shed light on this.
The whistleblower claims that the company required employees to keep Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Virtue diaries. These diaries were then used as evidence within a performance management framework that determined whether employees would receive promotions, raises, or even keep their job. From the summer of 2020, employees of the company were required to act virtuously at all times with regard to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The diary of their good deeds was part of maintaining their job security and also tied to their job compensation. Beyond this, the employee claims that the company, and its culture, systemically persecuted employees whose views were seen as out of step with this, effectively discriminating against political beliefs.
Sleeping Big Brother
Disney Ad Sales was one area where this was highly evident. As part of their standing MBO (Management by Objectives) orders is the line item “Champion Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”. It is management against this objective that the whistleblower alleges was the primary focus of these DEI diaries.
Disney Advertising’s Senior Vice President of Client Partnerships John Campbell was a prime example of this earlier this year, when espousing the company’s support of the equalpride organization earlier this year he told Adweek:
“What we’re trying to do is create systematic and meaningful change in the end. None of us are here for the heritage months only. We all activate 365 days a year. So if clients want to work with us for five days or 52 weeks, we have solutions. And these teams here are all part of those solutions.”
So a man whose sole purpose is to generate ad revenue actually thinks his role is to create systemic change? Therein, in a nutshell, is a perfect example of the problem that Disney has.
However, it doesn’t take long for things to turn even more sinister. The monitoring of belief and action did not stop at the office door.
Even outside the workplace, on social media, or in social settings if you expressed opinions and those political or sociocultural beliefs did not align with the acceptable corporate view then you could apparently expect to be sent to HR to have some serious conversations. The allegations state:
“So if you went beyond not just filling out your Word doc where you had DEI requirements noted for your MBO document, let’s say, but instead you were actually on social media saying that you supported some sort of conservative value you were going to be brought into HR. And in doing this The Walt Disney Company seems to have eliminated the vast majority of their conservative employees and have turned the company into a monolithic kind of state where everyone there is is either far to the left on the spectrum or they are a moderate or conservative in hiding.”
The whistleblower says this was devastating to them, as they had a lifelong dream of working for Disney. That dream, they say, turned into a nightmare.
The Lady And The Wrongthink
So who is responsible for this apparent dictatorial monoculture hellscape? Apparently, bonuses were withheld if you were not aligned with the Chief Diversity Officer – Latondra Newton – and her belief systems. Belief systems that also governed recruitment and removed candidate quality control and meritocracy in the hiring cycle.
According to the reports:
“There’s an individual under [Latondra] Newton who apparently also instituted a new process by which to hire people. And that hiring process is part of the DEI initiative. [He] stripped out the need for a significant number of applicants to meet any kind of criteria whatsoever. And also perhaps there was an effort to make sure such candidates received a higher chance of being approved in large numbers”.
Allegations have long been made about an internal culture that bullies employees who deviate from the approved thinking. Gina Carano has recently been giving more details on her removal from the Star Wars universe for sharing her openly conservative viewpoints. In light of these new revelations via the whistleblower, this all seems to start to align. Carano said of her time working on Star Wars:
“They’ve been all over me and they’ve been watching me like a hawk, and I’m watching people on the same production and they can say everything they want, and that’s where I had a problem. I had a problem because I wasn’t going along with the narrative…
I’ve seen the bullying that takes place, and so when this started, they point their guns at you, and you know it’s only a matter of time. I’ve seen it happen to so many people, and I just thought to myself (…) ‘you’re coming for me, I know you are.’ They’re making it very obvious through their employees who were coming for me.”
Latondra Newton exited the company in June, but it looks as if the culture that some claim is poisonous and failing that she was instrumental in creating remains. Therefore Disney is apparently trapped in a vortex of failure of its own creation. The issue runs deeper than any financial news that may come out of the earnings call later today.
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