Disney has confirmed that a talking robot version of President Donald Trump will be added to Disney World’s iconic Hall of Presidents attraction later this year, despite a petition to keep him silent.
Disney Parks editorial content director Thomas Smith wrote in a blog post Tuesday that Trump would indeed be added to the hall, alongside the other 44 U.S. presidents, and would also have a speaking role in the attraction.
“Despite some media reports to the contrary, President Trump will have a speaking role in The Hall of Presidents, like every president since 1993,” Smith wrote in a post on the Disney Parks blog. “We have been working closely with the current White House — just as we have with previous administrations — and the president’s recording session has been scheduled. The attraction will re-open in late 2017.”
Smith also added that the attraction would remain closed while it undergoes an extensive renovation, including an upgraded theater and lighting system to provide “an even wider vantage point of our country’s history.”
In May, Vice News reported that Trump’s inclusion in the Hall of Presidents had turned into a chaotic process, and that Disney had considered adding Trump to the attraction without a speaking role. The news outlet retracted two stories and issued an editor’s note Wednesday apologizing for the errors.
“We are conducting a full editorial review to pinpoint how this source was vetted, and how these stories were approved and published in violation of our usual editorial workflow. We fell short of our standards, and regret the error,” Vice News wrote.
In January, a Change.org petition was launched urging Disney not to provide a speaking role for the animatronic Trump.
“The Magic Kingdom at Disney World is a place specifically designed for the enjoyment of children and families. Therefore, it is not an appropriate place for a Donald Trump speech,” the petition creator wrote. “We ask that Walt Disney World take a stand against divisive and hurtful rhetoric and have the backs of millions of Americans and people worldwide whose day would be ruined by the depiction of a speech by Donald Trump.”
Disney CEO Bob Iger recently clashed with Trump over the president’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement. Iger quit his role on Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum this month in the wake of the decision.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum