Disney Expresses ‘Regret’ For Offensive Portrayal Of Native Americans By HS Drill Team In Magic Kingdom Parade

Topline

Disney said Friday that it “regrets[s]a high school drill team performance at Walt Disney World this week that was widely condemned for its racist portrayal of Native Americans, claiming she didn’t know the group was chanting “Scalp ’em!” and promising he has put in place measures to prevent similar incidents in the future – a response that advocates criticize as still insufficient.

Highlights

The Port Neches-Groves High School drill team in Port Neches, Texas known as the ‘Indianettes’ outrage -drew for their performances at Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World this week, which featured team members from Drill performing moves criticized for perpetuating racial stereotypes against Native Americans while chanting, “Scalp ’em, Indians, scalp ’em.” »

The performance gained greater attention following a Tweeter Thursday night from Tara Houska, a tribal lawyer and founder of Giniw Collective, who slammed the team’s act of drilling “nostalgic racism.” »

“Shame on Disney for hosting this,” Houska said in her tweet, which was retweeted more than 2,700 times as of Friday afternoon.

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in a statement to Forbes Friday that the performance “did not reflect our core values ​​and we regret that it took place”, and claimed that it was “not consistent with the audition tape provided by the school”, adding that the company will ensure that “this does not happen again”.

Disney has confirmed Forbes an employee prevented the drill crew from wearing headgear before the show.

In a statement to ForbesHouska called Disney’s response “derisory” and said if the company “is truly committed to inclusivity and diversity, this behavior should be unequivocally condemned and an apology offered.”

crucial quote

“Disney didn’t even mention the blatant racism and ignorance they raised,” Houska said. Forbes, noting that a “superficial review” of the high school shows other offensive references to Native Americans such as a “War Whoop Yearbook” and referring to its football stadium as “The Reservation”. “I find it hard to believe that Disney had no idea who they were giving a platform to.”

Chief Spokesperson

The high school and Indianettes principal has yet to respond to requests for comment, but an unofficial Port Neches-Groves football team website defends the school’s ‘Indians’ moniker, acknowledging the controversy. on the use of Native Americans as sports mascots. The site claims the nickname is a nod to the history of the Native American tribes that lived in the area and says the school had been recognized by the Cherokee Nation as “Goodwill Ambassadors”, although the Cherokee Nation has withdrew support for the school in 2020. “Port Neches-Groves ISD respectfully incorporates [Native Americans’] rich traditions with great honor and pride,” the website states.

Key Context

Disney’s hosting of the Indianettes comes as it moves to be more inclusive at its theme parks and rid them of racist depictions, including of Indigenous people. Walt Disney World and Disneyland recently updated their Jungle Cruise attractions to remove “negative portrayals of Native people” and announced they would re-theme their Splash Mountain rides to no longer focus on the movie. southern song, which was fired from the cast for its fictionalized portrayal of race relations in the post-Civil War South. The company has always been criticized for the portrayal of American Indians on the Flight of Peter Pan attraction, which was not updated even as the company added a disclaimer to the film. Peter Pan on Disney Plus for the film’s “negative portrayals and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.”

Tangent

The scandal caused by Disney’s hosting of the Indianettes is that the company is facing controversy over its response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, targeted by critics that the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill “. Disney faces widespread outrage, including from its own employees, over its initial refusal to speak out against the law, which has been critcized as discriminatory against the LGBTQ community, first CEO Bob Chapek to issue an apology late in the year. account. The controversy still continued, however, with employees walking away earlier in the week protesting the company’s handling of the issue.

Further reading

Disney employees stage walkout over company’s response to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill (Forbes)

Disney to revise jungle cruise after criticism of racism (Forbes)

A Year After Disney Said It’s Redesigning Racist Splash Mountain, It’s Still Open And The Company Won’t Say When The Work Will Begin (Forbes)

Disney Breaks Political Donations in Florida As CEO Chapek Apologizes to Employees for ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Response (Forbes)

Nohemi M. Moore