Disney Vows ‘Real Change’ in Response to ‘Killing’ of George Floyd

Employee memo was sent by CEO Bob Chapek, along with Executive Chairman Bob Iger and Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton

Last Updated: May 31, 2020 @ 6:29 PM

Disney has promised to push for “real change” in light of this weekend’s global demonstrations protesting police violence, sending a memo to all employees from CEO Bob Chapek, Executive Chairman Bob Iger and Chief Diversity Officer Latondra Newton.

While the memo does not note the escalating nature of the demonstrations and the violence by police against protesters and journalists, the memo does condemn the “recent killing of George Floyd as well as other instances of lethal attacks and harassment of unarmed black citizens” and acknowledges the racial disparity in how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted American citizens.

“We, too, are struggling to make sense of the recent tragedies that leave us feeling overcome with sorrow,” read the memo. “While we don’t have all the answers, we resolve to 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. We also realize that now more than ever is the time for us all to further strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere.”

Police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after a video surfaced of him placing his knee on Floyd’s neck and keeping it there for nearly nine minutes, even after Floyd said that he couldn’t breathe. He is the first white police officer in Minnesota to be criminally charged with the death of a black civilian. The third-degree murder charge, if convicted, comes with a prison sentence of up to 25 years.

Read the full memo below:

Dear Fellow Employee,

The recent killing of George Floyd as well as other instances of lethal attacks and harassment of unarmed black citizens in our nation continue to drive outrage and calls for action by people of all cultural backgrounds, including many of our employees. Feelings of grief and anger cause us to confront the inscrutable idea that the lives of some are deemed less valuable – and less worthy of dignity, care and protection – than the lives of others.

While these devastating incidents are not new, there’s something unique about what’s happening in this moment. The pandemic coupled with these recent injustices have pushed the issues of racial disparity into the open.

We, too, are struggling to make sense of the recent tragedies that leave us feeling overcome with sorrow. While we don’t have all the answers, we resolve to 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. We also realize that now more than ever is the time for us all to further strengthen our commitment to diversity and inclusion everywhere.

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.

Bob Chapek, Bob Iger & Latondra Newton

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