DISNEY DISSED AGAIN

Latino groups call for boycott over hiring

Vowing not to take her daughter to Disneyland and urging the Hispanic community to boycott the park as well as other Disney businesses, L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina rallied 30 Latino organizations on Thursday to take action against Disney and ABC over the company’s exclusion of Latinos from top executive posts.

The campaign comes on the heels of the National Hispanic Media Coalition’s (NHMC) call in late April for a nationwide boycott of every area of the Walt Disney Co., also in protest of Disney’s purportedly shoddy record in hiring Latinos.

“Our community has a talented pool of individuals who deserve to be integrated into Disney’s workforce and deserve the opportunity to be at the decision-making table when it comes to content and character development,” Molina said.

“Then, and only then, will Disney earn our dollars and our community support.”

Among the actions promised Thursday at a Latino Media Summit in downtown L.A. was the declaration of the Latino Business Assn. to stop taking donations from Disney.

Several Latino community organizations, including Madres de East Los Angeles and Santa Isabel, are urging their members not to take out-of-town guests to Disneyland, or to patronize other Disney subsidiaries.

Additionally, Los Angeles School Board member Vicki Castro is considering asking the Board of Education to ban the annual “Grad Night” celebration at Disneyland next year.

“Until Disney improves its hiring and procurement practices among Latinos we are staying away,” said Hector Barreto, VP of the Latin Business Assn.

Alex Nogales, national chair for the NHMC, charges that less than 1% of those in creative and policy-making positions at Disney/ABC are Hispanic despite the fact that Latinos represent 42% of the population in Los Angeles County and 35% in California.

Late Thursday, Disney released a statement responding to the Latino action and charges. It read in part, “The Walt Disney Co. is proud of its effort in ensuring equal employment opportunities for all races and genders and we have an ongoing commitment to continue to strive for ever-increasing diversity in our workforce.”

The statement continued, “We have worked and will continue to work with responsible local and national Hispanic organizations to create a positive partnership and agenda for expanding our cooperation with, and overall support of, the Hispanic community.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, ABC announced Thursday that it has bought a trio of theatrical films with Latino themes for air next season: “Selena” (from Warner Bros.), “A Walk in the Clouds” (20th Century Fox) and “My Family/Mi Familia” (New Line).

Last week, a boycott was called against Disney by the Southern Baptists Assn. for the company’s liberal treatment of gay issues.

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