Disney Addresses Removal of 'Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls' in Video

A video posted to Twitter on Tuesday by a conservative activist and writer shows a Disney executive talking about the company's decision to scrub the use of "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" from its theme parks to make them more welcoming.

Vivian Ware, Disney's diversity and inclusion manager, made the remarks in the video posted by Christopher F. Rufo. The post comes as the entertainment giant has found itself in the middle of culture war battles, opposing Florida's new so-called Don't Say Gay law, that critics say undermines LGBTQ rights.

In the video, which was made last summer, Ware appears to be giving a presentation over video linked with the title "reimagine tomorrow" on the side of the screen.

"So we no longer say 'ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,'" Ware said in the video. "We've provided trainings for all of our our cast members and in relationship to that so now they know it's, 'hello everyone' or 'hello friends.'"

Entrance to Disney World
Finding itself entrenched in Florida's culture wars, Disney decided to ditch the use of "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" from its theme parks to make the venues more welcoming and inclusive. Above, a view of the entrance to Walt Disney World on March 22, 2022, in Orlando. Octavio Jones/Getty Images

She said that the phrase "dreamers of all ages" has replaced "ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" for announcements at the fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Ware said removing gendered language from Disney parks has given cast members more opportunities to be creative while interacting with guests. She encouraged those on the call to think differently about engaging guests "in a meaningful and inclusive way that makes it magical and memorable for everyone."

"We want to create that magical moment with our cast members, with our guests," she said. "And we don't want to just assume because who someone might be in our interpretation, maybe presenting as female that they may not want to be 'princess.'"

Disney's use of gender-neutral language isn't unique, and other companies have altered how they refer to customers in the face of shifting social expectations. British Airways last year followed other airlines in instructing crew members to drop "ladies and gentlemen" in favor of gender-neutral language when speaking with customers.

However, Disney faces particular pressures. Earlier this month, the company faced an employee walkout meant to pressure Disney to oppose the Don't Say Gay bill in the Florida Legislature.

The bill, which was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis, was presented as a parents' rights measure intended to prevent young children from being exposed to sexually inappropriate content in schools. But critics say it'll marginalize LGBTQ students and banish needed conversations about sexual orientation from classrooms.

While Disney came out against the bill, the company was criticized for not taking a stronger stance sooner.

Conservative critics of Disney, including DeSantis, have accused the company of going "woke," buying into an extreme social justice agenda.

Previously, Rufo, a writer for the right-leaning City Journal and Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, posted internal Disney documents online asking employees to complete a "white privilege checklist" and to pivot from "white dominant culture."

Newsweek reached out to Disney for comment.

Update 4/6/22, 1:42 p.m. ET: This story was updated to clarify that the video posted on Tuesday was made last summer and to change the headline.