Thomas Washington Disney

Thomas Washington Disney


Fans of the Hulu series Atlanta’s final season were captivated by the introduction of Thomas Washington Disney, portrayed by actor Eric Berryman. This character, created by writers Karen Joseph Adcock and Francesca Sloane, served as a fictional CEO of the Walt Disney Studios within the show. While the episode featuring Washington garnered praise for its inventiveness, viewers wondered if this character was based on a natural person or simply a product of creative imagination.

The truth is that Thomas Ronald Washington is purely a fictional creation. He symbolizes various themes and discussions within the show, but he does not exist in reality. Despite the intrigue surrounding his character, Washington remains a fascinating element of Atlanta’s narrative, adding depth and complexity to the storyline.

Thomas Washington Disney

Background of Movie

The acclaimed comedy-drama series Atlanta, created and led by Donald Glover, has been a cultural phenomenon since its debut in 2016. However, episode eight of the final season truly ignited conversations among fans and critics alike.

The episode titled “The Goof Who Sat by the Door” presented a fictional narrative centred around Thomas Washington, purportedly the first black CEO of The Walt Disney Company. Crafted by writers Karen Joseph Adcock and Francesca Sloane, the character of Washington catalyzed exploring themes of race, identity, and corporate culture.

According to the episode’s storyline, Washington, originally a black animator, rose to CEO following the 1992 Los Angeles riots. His passion for animation led him to Disney, where he began his career under the mentorship of legendary animator Art Babbitt.

However, a twist in the tale occurred when the interim CEO passed away during the riots, leading to a misunderstanding that resulted in Washington’s unexpected appointment as CEO. Despite initial reservations from the board of directors, Washington’s tenure brought about significant changes, including addressing cultural representation in Disney’s characters and content.

Ultimately, the episode delved into thought-provoking discussions about race, power dynamics, and the intersection of art and commerce. While Thomas Washington may be a fictional creation, his story within the context of Atlanta’s narrative sparked meaningful conversations about representation and inclusion in the entertainment industry.

Thomas Washington Disney

Does Washington Thomas exist?

No, he was just a created character; in the pivotal episode of Atlanta, Thomas Washington emerges as a compelling figure, brilliantly portrayed by actor Eric Berryman. Washington’s journey unfolds as he rises from a talented art student at the Savannah College of Art to becoming the first black animator at Walt Disney Studios.

His remarkable abilities caught the attention of senior designers, leading to his swift integration into projects like DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp. However, the unexpected turn of events during the 1992 riots catapults Washington into the CEO role following a mix-up with another candidate named Tom Washington.

Despite initial scepticism from the board, Thomas Washington sets out to implement significant changes within the company. His vision culminates in creating A Goofy Movie, a poignant exploration of the challenges black fathers face, co-produced with fellow illustrator Frank Rolls.

Through Washington’s character, Atlanta confronts themes of race, identity, and corporate culture, sparking thought-provoking discussions about representation and social issues in the entertainment industry.

Who was Thomas Washington’s character based on?

The company has never appointed a black CEO despite Disney’s efforts to foster inclusivity in its workforce. However, Disney has had notable black employees, with Floyd Norman being a trailblazer as the company’s first black animator, hired in 1956.

Norman’s tenure at Disney began with assignments like assisting in animating Sleeping Beauty’s iconic fairies and contributing to sequences in Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book. Although he briefly left Disney, Norman returned in the 1970s to work on projects like Robin Hood and various animated TV programs.

In recent years, Norman has continued to make significant contributions to animation, working on beloved films like Mulan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. He has collaborated with Pixar on acclaimed projects such as Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 2.

At 88 years old, Norman remains active in the animation industry, showcasing his talents as an animator, storyman, and artist, demonstrating a lifelong commitment to his craft and paving the way for future generations of black animators.

How did he Die?

Washington enjoyed a stable career at Disney, contributing to projects like a DuckTales movie. However, the 1992 Los Angeles riots marked a turning point in his life. Amidst escalating racial tensions, Disney faced a leadership crisis as their CEO fell ill. Due to a mix-up, Tom Washington, whose real name is Thompson, was mistakenly appointed CEO despite protests from the board.

Despite reservations, Disney maintained the erroneous appointment, leading to tensions within the company. Washington, determined to make a statement, poured his creative energy into A Goofy Movie. Focused on themes of black fatherhood, Washington’s vision clashed with Disney’s preferences, leading to modifications of specific sequences.

Throughout his tenure, Washington forged alliances with local gangs and organizations, including the Nation of Islam, to protect his family. Despite efforts to address racism and police brutality in his work, Disney’s alterations left Washington disillusioned. Following his dismissal and a mysterious disappearance, Washington’s fate remains unknown.


In conclusion, the fictional tale of Thomas Washington sheds light on the challenges faced by black creatives in the entertainment industry. His story reflects broader issues of representation and equity, highlighting the importance of diverse voices in shaping cultural narratives. Washington’s journey underscores the ongoing struggle for inclusivity and the need to address systemic biases within corporate structures. Ultimately, his legacy serves as a reminder of the power of storytelling to inspire change and foster a more equitable future.

Thomas Washington Disney real?

No, Thomas Washington Disney is not a real person. He is a fictional character created for the television show Atlanta.

What happened to Thomas Washington Disney?

During a screening of the movie, Washington was disheartened to see that his original vision had been discarded, leading him to leave the company. In 1995, Washington’s car was found submerged in a lake, the very same lake where he used to take his son fishing. However, his body was never recovered.

Thomas Washington Disney Net worth?

Thomas Washington was estimated $9 Million and his primary income was a Military Officer.

Emily Watson
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