(ABC4) – Disney’s President of General Entertainment Content, Karey Burke, vowed that the company will carry out its promise to make 50% of all regular and recurring characters members of underrepresented groups by the end of 2022, as echoed on Disney’s website.
The announcement came on March 28 on a company-wide Zoom call that was later posted to Twitter by Christopher F. Rufo of the City Journal.
Burke, a mother of two LGBTQ+ children herself, one transgender and one pansexual, expressed her heartbreak in learning of Disney’s lack of LGBTQ+ leads.
She spoke of a Disney open forum held on the week of the 20th where “…one of our executives stood up and said ‘You know, we only have a handful of queer leads in our content,’ and I went, ‘What? That can’t be true!’ And I realized, oh, it actually is true.”
Burke went on to emphasize her belief that the company doesn’t produce enough narratives in which gay characters just get to be characters rather than being the focus of a gay story.
“That’s been very eye-opening for me,” she noted.
The businesswoman turned activist choked back tears when looking towards the future, saying, “I hope this is a moment where… we just don’t allow each other to go backward.”
Burke’s announcement comes shortly after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a highly controversial piece of legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
In response to the bill, Disney released a public statement to Twitter, reading “Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have been passed and should never have been signed into law. Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the county.”