DEI is DOA: Board Overturns Disney’s Diversity Hiring Initiative

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District
Credit: Pixabay

The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD)  appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that all race-based hiring practices under its control would end. This follows trends happening in other parts of the country as movements to end preferential  treatment are halted for race and gender based hiring practices.  

Disney DEI

Credit: LinkedIn/ Glen Gilzean

According to recent reports, District Administrator Glen Gilzean said Reedy Creek’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programs discriminated against Americans based on race and gender and cost “taxpayers millions of dollars.” The loss, he says, is due to preferential treatment for contractors. 

“Our district will no longer participate in any attempt to divide us by race or advance the notion that we are not created equal,” said Gilzean, who was head of the Central Florida Urban League before DeSantis appointed him to the CFTOD earlier this year.

Reedy Creek

Credit: Wikipedia

Glizean went on to say that Reedy Creek, the former controlling district for Walt Disney World,  imposed quotas to ensure diversity in the workplace and awarded contracts, not to the lowest bidder or most qualified, but to contractors who shared the racial and gender hiring initiatives.  If a contractor did not keep up with their race and gender quotas, Gilzean said Reedy Creek would threaten them with nonpayment and/or denial of future contracts. 

disney's chief diversity officer latondra newton

Credit: The Walt Disney Company

Disney officials have not commented on the board’s ruling. This however comes on the heels of The Walt Disney Company’s Chief Diversity Officer LaTondra Newton, being ousted in June. 

Those who oppose the measure say that it is a drastic blow to inclusion in the workplace. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a former state representative from Orlando who is running for state Senate, said diversity programs “are critical to ensuring minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to compete and reflect the diversity of our local community.” 

Central Florida Tourism Oversight District

Credit: Joe Burbank

It is important to note that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District’s ruling only applies to areas where the CFTOD has authority. This includes infrastructure including roads, water and sewer and police and fire protection, and future development of the Disney World property, but not the theme parks themselves.  Disney still controls Cast Member hiring and the CFTOD ruling has no impact on that. 

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.