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Walt Disney Co. To Call Internal Meeting To Examine Racism

  • ‘Good Morning America’ anchor Michael Strahan will speak internally to Disney/ESPN employees around the world.
  • “Nightline” anchor Byron Pitts will moderate virtual panel.
Photo Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

In the wake of protests following the death of George Floyd in police custody, the Walt Disney Co. has called an internal meeting on Thursday to examine racism and bias, sources tell Front Office Sports. 

Michael Strahan, the former NFL star turned co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” and co-star of “Fox NFL Sunday” will speak at the internal meeting, said sources. 

The anti-racism symposium will be moderated by journalist Byron Pitts, co-anchor of “Nightline.”  

Other ABC News journalists expected to participate include: senior justice correspondent Pierre Thomas; Chicago -based correspondent Alex Perez; Atlanta-based correspondent Steve Osunsami; Dallas-based correspondent Marcus Moore; and Los Angeles-based “Eyewitness” News Anchor Marc Brown.

The group will tackle the “reality of reporting and race,” said sources, while sharing their own experiences with racial discrimination.

It’s unclear if any ESPN executives or on-air talent are on the panel being called by Disney Executive Chairman Bob Iger. 

ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro is also co-chair of Disney Media Networks. He previously served as chairman of Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media in Burbank. The event will be available by video link to Disney and ESPN employees all over the world. They will be invited to join the conversation by asking questions, said sources. 

ESPN declined to comment, referring questions to a Disney spokesman who could not be reached. 

On Wednesday, Disney pledged $5 million to non-profit organizations supporting social justice, including a $2 million donation to the NAACP.

On Tuesday night, ABC News devoted a slate of programming to the protests surrounding Floyd’s death at the hands of police, including a primetime special, “America In Pain: What Comes Next,” and two episodes of “black-ish” dealing with racism and social justice.

“The killing of George Floyd has forced our nation to once again confront the long history of injustice that black people in America have suffered, and it is critical that we stand together, speak out and do everything in our power to ensure that acts of racism and violence are never tolerated,” Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek said in a statement. “This $5 million pledge will continue to support the efforts of nonprofit organizations such as the NAACP that have worked tirelessly to ensure equality and justice.”

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