Queer Former Disney Executive Suffered “Brutal” Experience

in Disney, Entertainment

Jim Fielding left, picture of Walt Disney World pride landscaping, Mickey mouse right, below a picture of Fielding's new book

Credit: Daps Magic / Jim Fielding / Amazon

An ex-head of Disney Stores spoke out about being a queer Disney executive. Fielding likened it to living a “double life.”

ex boss and queer Disney executive speaks out about the experience, Jim Fielding left, book cover right
Credit: Jim Fielding / Wiley / Amazon

Jim Fielding on Being a Queer Disney Executive

According to a report from the Harvard Business Review, Jim Fielding was living in a state of inauthenticity during the “Don’t Say Gay” culture. Fielding was the head of Walt Disney World stores during the 1980s. It was his first professional job.

Fielding would reportedly switch pronouns and change his personal stories to conform to the Disney general entertainment culture. Per the ex-Walt Disney executive, he suffered migraines and stomach problems.

Anger screams while on fire in 'Inside Out'
Credit: Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios

Issues With “Don’t Say Gay” in Culture and Law

“I was way too young to be feeling that amount of stress.”

It speaks to the sheer pressure queer individuals are under to conform to societal expectations. The good news was that the Disney Channel and its characters, along with the rest of the world, moved toward a more progressive future. Accordingly, Fielding was able to have a career and eventually live as his authentic self.

A "LOVE" Pride wall at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Four Disney Dreamlight Valley Pride tee shirts are overtop of the image of the wall.
Credit: Disney

Why Walt Disney World Going “Woke” Matters

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke out openly against the prospect of another “Don’t Say Gay” movement. In the interview between the ex-Walt Disney Co. businessman and the HBR, it’s clear how important that is, not just to Disney or Marvel Studio, but to the people behind the characters.

Per Fielding, with the law of averages in play, 10% of the country is queer or LGBTQ. As a promo for his book, “All Pride, No Ego: A Queer Executive’s Journey to Living and Leading Authentically,” the HBR interview asked a lot of questions about his experience with the Disney company as a minority.

gay pride LGBTQ Disney
Credit: National Geographic

Representation in Walt Disney Co. Media and in the Board Room

Whether sexual orientation, gender identity, or racial minority, there is a shared experience of being “outside of a very tight circle of people.” LGBTQIA characters and trans characters get more representation in Disney Television Animation and other Walt Disney Co. productions now.

However, Fielding notes a lack of representation at the executive level. The book goes into more depth about the seriousness of the issues, both past and present. He also acknowledges the ways things are changing, to what will hopefully be a less “brutal” experience for people.

The ongoing pride movement is a part of the inclusive values Disney espouses, even despite the serious backlash.

What do you think about the ex-Disney boss speaking out about his experience as a queer professional, before the “woke” movement? Share in the comments below!

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