At the very beginning of this year’s Pride Month, a longtime Disney employee filed a lawsuit against the House of Mouse accusing the entertainment conglomerate of sexual orientation discrimination.
According to Deadline, the lawsuit was filed by a team of lawyers on behalf of ABC Signature VP of Production Finance Joel Hopkins, a gay man, whose television production studio is organised under the Disney Television Studios unit of Walt Disney Television.
As per the Complaint for Monetary and Punitive Damages suit filed by The Law Office of Omid Nosrati and Michael Zarocostas, “Plaintiff has direct and repeated complaints to HR about the discrimination he has endured while employed by Defendants and, concomitantly, the related failures to promote him and to pay him at the same level as other department heads.”
“After [Hopkins’] 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,” wrote Hopkins’ legal team.
The complaint concludes, “Plaintiff is informed and believes that these promotions occurred despite representations that Disney was hurting financially and not promoting.”
Before being promoted to Vice President Production Finance for Touchstone TV in the year 2000, Hopkins began his career at Disney in 1994, joining the company as Director of Production Finance for Disney–ABC Domestic Television’s Buena Vista TV.
Interestingly, the complaint reveals that Hopkins disclosed his sexual orientation to his superiors in 2000, with this information even being told to Chief Financial Officer of ABC, and Plaintiff supervisor Jim Hedges.
The complaint further claims that Hopkins’ “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.”
It’s likely that the suit’s filing was carefully timed to coincide with the beginning of Pride Month, a move which will likely play in his favor as Disney inevitably faces an elevated level of public pressure.
Disney did not respond to Deadline’s request for comment.
What do you make of this sexual orientation discrimination suit filed against Disney? Let us know in the comments section down below or on social media.