The Walt Disney Company has been hit with a sexual orientation discrimination lawsuit from a longtime executive at the start of Pride Month.
“After his sexual orientation became known to his superiors and after being discriminated against and put on a dead-end career track and repeatedly denied promotions with no remedy or relief from HR, Plaintiff is informed and believes that yet again, in or around April 2021, several promotions occurred, but Plaintiff once again was not promoted,” the complaint filed on Tuesday said.
The complaint was filed in a Los Angeles court, with employee Joel Hopkins claiming he was denied promotions because higher-ups at the company knew he was gay. Hopkins currently serves as a vice president of production finance at Disney’s ABC Signature Studios and is seeking compensatory damages.
Hopkins joined Disney in 1994, and by the year 2000, he was promoted to vice president of production finance for Touchstone TV. It was around that time that his “sexual orientation as a gay man became known to several individuals, including Plaintiff’s direct supervisor, Jim Hedges, the CFO of ABC,” according to the 10-page filing.
“Plaintiff is also informed and believes that his compensation is less than other individuals who are also department heads and that his title is lower than other individuals who are also department heads, especially for someone of Plaintiff’s experience and tenure,” the paperwork submitted to the Los Angeles Superior Court by lawyers Omid Nosrati and Michael Zarocostas states.
The lawsuit comes as Pride Month begins and Disney rolls out an inclusivity campaign, including a pride celebration section on Disney+.
“We believe in the power of inclusive storytelling that brings us together and inspires us to live authentically, and Disney+ is committed to amplifying LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices,” the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
We believe in the power of inclusive storytelling that brings us together and inspires us to live authentically, and Disney+ is committed to amplifying LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices. We are proud to be a home for diverse creators, talent, and content. (1/3) #DisneyPlusPride 🌈 pic.twitter.com/asnr0JVbnb
— Disney+ (@disneyplus) June 1, 2021
Disney did not immediately return the Washington Examiner’s request for comment on the lawsuit.
Author : Emma Colton