DeSantis Appointees Deliver Fatal Blow to Disney District DEI Programs
The governing board appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to oversee the Walt Disney theme park announced that it is abolishing all diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and eliminating race-based hiring practices.
In a statement Tuesday, the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District said it is moving forward with axing the district’s DEI committee and cutting all jobs connected to its initiatives. The board also announced that it was ending discriminatory race-based policies that contract based on race and equity quotas.
Glenton Gilzean, the new director of the board, called the policies “illegal and simply unamerican,”
“Our district will no longer participate in any attempt to divide us by race or advance the notion that we are not created equal,” Gilzean said in a statement. “As the former head of the Central Florida Urban League, a civil rights organization, I can say definitively that our community thrives only when we work together despite our differences.” ~ Dir. Glenton Gilzean
Gilzean, who is African American, is a former head of the Central Florida Urban League.
The Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD) manages the district and implements public policy. It replaced the Disney-controlled Reedy Creek Improvement District in February.
The previous district had governed the area for more than 50 years, granting the Walt Disney Company extraordinary power and allowing them the authority to make appointments to the oversight board. Most recently, it was responsible for establishing discriminatory hiring and contracting policies in the name of DEI.
“Under its Minority/ Women Business Enterprise and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise programs, the Reedy Creek Improvement District routinely awarded contracts based on racially and gender driven goals to businesses on the basis of their owners’ race and gender,” the CFTOD said in a statement. The Reedy Creek Improvement District reportedly instituted race and gender quotas requiring contractors to meet certain diversity thresholds. According to the CFTOD, millions of dollars were spent trying to find businesses that could comply with the standards.
“After entering into a contract, Reedy Creek employees aggressively monitored contractor’s racial and gender practices, wasting taxpayer dollars. Previous contracts threatened contractors who did not keep up with racial or gender quotes with nonpayment and disqualification from future bidding.” ~ Statement from the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District
After the district was formally reorganized earlier this year, the Disney-appointed board was vacated and replaced with appointments made by Governor DeSantis.
The move followed a year-long feud resulting from the entertainment conglomerate inserting itself into state politics. Disney had previously opposed the Parental Rights in Education bill, which prohibited lessons on sexuality and gender ideology in early childhood classrooms.
In April, the newly-appointed board voted to nullify two decisions made by the previous board to grant Disney authority over the expansion of its resort, prompting Disney to file a lawsuit in federal court. Just days later, the board filed a lawsuit of its own, aiming to maintain control over the expansion of the district.
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