The fourth season of Hulu’s award-winning show Atlanta introduced a character named Thomas Ronald Washington, played by actor Eric Berryman. Fans of the show were left wondering if the character was based on a real person or just a fictional character created by Karen Joseph Adcock and Francesca Sloane, the writers of the episode.
In this article, we will delve into the story of Thomas Ronald Washington and uncover the truth behind the character.
Who is Thomas Ronald Washington?
In the show, Thomas Ronald Washington is portrayed as a young black animator who becomes the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Walt Disney Company in 1992 following the Los Angeles riots. He is depicted as a passionate animator who wanted to work for Disney since he was a child.
Disney’s board of directors had agreed to appoint a new CEO, Tom Washington, following the unfortunate passing of the temporary CEO during the 1992 riots. However, due to the resemblance of names between the preferred candidate and the eventual CEO, Thomas Ronald Washington was accidentally chosen as the CEO.
Is Thomas Ronald Washington real?
Although some social media users have speculated that the character might be based on Floyd Norman, one of Disney’s first black animators, it is confirmed that Thomas Ronald Washington is a fictional character. The Walt Disney Company has never appointed a black CEO, and Norman was most likely an inspiration for the writers of the show.
Story of Thomas Ronald Washington
The narrative of the final episode of Atlanta centers on Thomas Washington’s goal to create “the blackest movie of all time,” which would address all issues relating to African-American culture. He chose A Goofy Movie as the project, even using his son, Maxwell, as the inspiration for the character “Max Goof.”
During the production of the film, Washington began verbally abusing his spouse and child, resulting in their divorce.
This conduct led The Walt Disney Company to doubt Washington’s ability to lead, particularly as he began displaying characteristics reminiscent of Goofy, such as his laughter. Despite the company’s offer of $75 million to terminate his employment, Washington refused to resign.
The initial conclusion of A Goofy Movie portrayed Goofy and Max being subjected to police brutality during a traffic stop for accidentally entering the seat of civil rights activist/radical, Huey P. Newton. This ending was deemed unsuitable, and a new scene was created to replace it.
Washington went missing in 1995 after observing Disney’s management change the ending of his planned film. His vehicle was discovered in the same lake where he used to go fishing with his child, but his body was never found.
In conclusion, Thomas Ronald Washington is a fictional character created for the show Atlanta. While the character is not based on a real person, the story behind him and his attempts to create “the blackest movie of all time” provides an interesting commentary on the entertainment industry and the challenges faced by black creatives.