Disney Gets Flack for Weak Position On Florida’s Discriminatory Bill

Disney is in hot water following refusal to condemn “Don’t Say Gay” bill. 

The Florida legislation is a move to ban in-school discussion of sexual orientation with young children. 

The bill specifies that classroom instruction “on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate.” 

Source: The Walt Disney Company

In a memo sent to the employees on March 7, Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek told employees that while Disney supports the LGBTQ+ community, the company chooses not to rock the boat by staying neutral on the legislation.  

“I do not want anyone to mistake a lack of statement for a lack of support,” Chapek wrote. “We all share the same goal of a more tolerant, respectful world. Where we may differ is in the tactics to get there.” 

He believes that “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds” and that these are “often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame.” 

Chapek emphasized that the best way to take a stand and fight back is through “the inspiring content we produce” and creating “diverse stories,” as ”this struggle is much bigger than any one bill in any one state.” 

Photo source: Disney Parks Blog

“Are we going to make a stand for gay people? No. But are going to keep selling Pride merchandise and making money from the LGBTQ+ community? Yes.” 

Employees protested against the decision, urging Disney to speak out with the hashtags #DisneySayGay and #DisneyDoBetter. 

The damage has been done.  People are talking about Disney’s inability to make a stance and have decided to walk away from Walt. One of our favorites, Miss Coco Peru stated on her Facebook Fans page:

On March 10, Chapek announced reversal of the said decision, saying the company now publicly opposes the Florida legislation and will oppose other similar legislations across the country. At the company’s annual meeting on Wednesday, Chapek said that while the company was opposed to the bill at the beginning, they could work with Florida lawmakers to “achieve a better outcome.”  Instincters, is this too little too late or stay tuned?

“I understand our original approach, no matter how well intended, didn’t quite get the job done,” Chapek said. “But we’re committed to support the community going forward.” 

After taking his first public stance against the bill, Chapek announced that The Walt Disney Company is pledging $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations protecting LGBTQ rights. 

The Human Rights Campaign responded by refusing to take the donation until “meaningful action” to combat Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation is taken. 

In a March 9 press release, the organization said: “The Human Rights Campaign will not accept this money from Disney until we see them build on their public commitment and work with LGBTQ+ advocates to ensure that dangerous proposals, like Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill, don’t become dangerous laws.” 

“While Disney took a regrettable stance by choosing to stay silent amid political attacks against LGBTQ+ families in Florida — including hardworking families employed by Disney — today they took a step in the right direction. But it was merely the first step.” 

Politico states “DeSantis agrees to meet with Disney CEO amid ‘Don’t Say Gay’ fallout”

Walt Disney Co.’s CEO told shareholders on Wednesday that Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed to meet with him to discuss Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” parental rights bill amid widespread condemnation of the controversial measure.

Bob Chapek, the head of the California-based Walt Disney corporation, said he called DeSantis expressing “disappointment and concern” over the legislation and that the Republican governor agreed to meet with him and LGBTQ company leaders over the impact the bill could have, according to a readout of Chapek’s comments provided to POLITICO by Disney.

DeSantis’ spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, confirmed that the two men spoke Wednesday but said the governor is not changing his support for the bill, which prohibits educators from leading instruction on sexual orientation or gender issues with students in kindergarten through third grade. DeSantis has not yet signed the legislation.

What comes out of this is that the republican backed “Don’t Say Gay” bill has caused ripples in Florida and now Disney. And oh yeah, our LGBT youth in Florida and soon to be other states with all these other bills coming up will be screwed.

And this is flowing over to Pixar, too. Newsweek shared that – “Pixar Staff Say Disney Censors LGBT Scenes After Backlash Against CEO Bob Chapek”.  Here’s an excerpt, but seriously go read the full Newsweek post.

Staff at Pixar have spoken out about Disney allegedly censoring same sex stories in an ongoing row over the company’s response to the recently passed legislation in Florida known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay‘ bill.

Employees at the animation giant released a statement, per Variety, claiming that corporate executives in their parent company have demanded cuts and edits from “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection… regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”

In the statement, which is attributed the “LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar, and their allies,” the group wrote: “We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were.

Every student deserves to be seen, and every student deserves an education that prepares them for health and success — regardless of who they are,” the statement concludes. “This should be the beginning of Disney’s advocacy efforts rather than the end.” 

Well, Mr Chapek, I’ll leave you with the words of Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu and I want you to say it with me: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” #DisneySayGay


Source:  PoliticoNewsweek

3 thoughts on “Disney Gets Flack for Weak Position On Florida’s Discriminatory Bill”

  1. Ah, the number of folks shocked, disappointed, and/or surprised is amusing to say the least. Big corporation, Huge media company, and “family” theme park(s)….it’s all talk about caring about diversity and inclusion until it might effect their stock price/Bonus pay out/tax breaks/etc.

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  2. As a Disney gay (a gay person who’s obsessed with all things Disney & goes to the parks frequently) Bob Chaepek has been a disappointment. Disney company as a whole failed the LGBTQ community. We’ve waited for years to get major recognition in their movies but they continue to let me down. Yes they tried but they were poor attempts or tone deaf. I had to cancel my trip to WDW this summer. I just can’t with their poor decisions.

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  3. In my opinion Disney hasn’t been pro gay in general except for Gay Days at their parks, as far as TV shows & Movies they have not featured many gay people always coded gay characters.

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