Disney chief says ABC passed on 'incredibly well-written scripts' that lacked diversity

Kirstie Alley calls foul on Oscars new diversity and inclusion requirements

The new diversity and inclusion requirements for Oscar consideration is not slated to take effect until 2024, but actress Kirstie Alley quickly took to Twitter to criticize the new rules writing, ‘This is a disgrace to artists everywhere.’

One of Disney’s top bosses has spoken candidly about pilots the company passed on due to a lack of diversity in their scripts.

“I will tell you for the first time we received some incredibly well-written scripts that did not satisfy our standards in terms of inclusion, and we passed on them,” Dana Walden, Walt Disney Television’s Chairman of Entertainment, said during a panel discussion last week, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As an example, Walden cited a script that told the story of a White family and whose diversity of characters would have likely come from neighbors. 

“Pass,” Walden said. “That’s not going to get on the air anymore because that’s not what our audience wants. That’s not a reflection of our audience, and I feel good about the direction we’re moving.”

Dana Walden is pictured in October 2019. Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com


Last year, ABC announced a set of “inclusion standards” on-screen and behind the scenes amid the cultural reckoning following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. 

As THR previously reported, TV programs had to fulfill at least three of the five standards, which include at least 50% of characters and/or actors representing “Underrepresented Groups,” the “meaningful inclusion of Underrepresented Groups” among secondary characters, as well as “themes and narratives” from such groups integrated in the series premise and episodic storytelling.

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