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Top DEI execs from Disney to Netflix exit, sparks criticism of their lack of effectiveness in Hollywood

A recent string of high-profile exits in Hollywood is fueling questions whether backlash towards the left’s diversity push has reached the entertainment industry

Between June 20 and July 3, at least five executives at top entertainment and media companies leading Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives have stepped down or were pushed out of their roles. 

On June 20, it was revealed that Disney’s chief diversity officer Latondra Newton was leaving her post after leading the Mouse’s DEI department since 2017 to focus on her own company. Variety reports Disney is seeking a replacement. 

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Vernā Myers holds diversity book

Vernā Myers, author of “Moving Diversity Forward,” will be leaving Netflix as its inclusion strategy chief after five years with the streaming giant.  (Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Watermark Conference for Women)

Two exits were announced June 30. Janelle English exited the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Oscars) just one year after she was promoted in the newly created role as executive VP of Impact and Inclusion. 

English joined the Film Academy in 2020 as its office director for Representation Inclusion and Equity after being a DEI chief for Discovery (now Warner Bros. Discovery). Her addition came just three months after the Academy announced its “representation and inclusion” standards for Oscars eligibility that requires films to feature higher percentages of “underrepresented” groups in their casts and crews.

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Seneca Scott, founder and CEO of Neighbors Together Oakland, replied to the viral tweet by repeating his warning to others to not accept such DEI roles because they “do nothing.”

“They’d start to get more minorities in the company and get them into positions of influence… if they were actually in good faith pushing those initiatives,” Scott told Fox News Digital. “The problem is they fail because they don’t address what really creates an impactful employee, which is mentorship and opportunities.”

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“I think there’s been a quiet shift to get rid of the people causing the problems, but it’s not so quiet when you see everything adding up,” Young told Fox News Digital. 

Young insisted, however, that Hollywood will remain in its ideological bubble and it’ll take “a few billion dollars in losses” before they “wake up” to the unsuccessful DEI reality. 

Chasing Liberty Substack writer Jeff Charles similarly isn’t convinced that the string of departures is due to DEI backlash within showbiz but did point to the decline in DEI job listings and recent DEI-related staffers in Big Tech as a sign that the “furor” following George Floyd’s murder is finally subsiding.

Prioritization of diversity even made its way to the Supreme Court, which struck down affirmative action in the college admissions process that found it discriminated against Asian students while heavily favoring Black and Hispanic students when evaluating candidates on their race. Experts suggest the historic ruling could hold businesses liable going forward for their DEI practices. 

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