DISNEY TAKES A STAND ON A CONTROVERSIAL ANTI-LGBT LAW PROPOSED IN FLORIDA

Disney had a tough time on its hands: CEO Bob Chapek ‘s public stance , during a recent meeting with shareholders.

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Florida’s controversial 1557 bill, nicknamed Don’t Say Gay or Trans Bill (officially Parental Rights in Education), has sparked more controversy than anything else, especially for the perceived delay with which Disney has officially taken a position on the matter.

The Don’t Say Gay or Trans Bill would like to prevent teachers from talking about issues related to the LGBTQ + world, or about gay or trans people, and completely avoid sex or gender orientation education from kindergarten to third grade. The proposal has already been approved in the Florida Senate and is highly likely to be signed by Governor Ron DeSantis .

The Disney stance

In his speech to shareholders, Chapek took a strong stand against the 1557 bill, speaking in favor of LGBTQ + people in Florida, where the company employs about 80,000 people at Walt Disney World, and in the rest of the country. For some, however, this stance came too late, after the bill had already made great strides. Chapek said the company had decided “not to take a public position” because “we thought we could be more effective by working behind the scenes, directly involving lawmakers from both political sides.” Rather than move publicly and take a stand, according to Chapek, the best thing would have been to create “powerful content capable of changing hearts and minds”.

Now, after meeting with shareholders, Disney policy has changed: Chapek said the company joined 150 others in formulating a statement against anti-LGBTQ + legislation, organized by Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans. He has also pledged to make donations to LGBTQ + rights organizations.

The response of Pixar employees

Concepts also expressed in a circular within the company, which, however, was targeted by some LGBTQIA + employees of Pixar. Among the disputed points, the claim that Disney has long supported the LGBT community, when instead “the Disney parks did not officially host Pride before 2019, only in Paris. In the past, Disney blocked fan-organized Pride events in parks, even preventing same-sex couples from dancing together in the 1980s. ” Pixar employees also say that, often, Disney executives have blunted overly gay content or characters proposed by Pixar authors. “Even if creating LGBTQIA + content was the right way to fix the discriminatory laws around the world, they are preventing us from creating it.”

Human Rights Campaign refuses the donation

As if that weren’t enough, Human Rights Campaign, America’s largest LGBTQ + civil rights organization, said it will not accept Chapek’s announced donation unless Disney takes the matter seriously. Joni Madison , HRC’s interim president, criticized Disney’s delay in taking a stand on the Don’t Say Gay or Trans Bill, calling it an “unpleasant attitude.” But she concedes: “Today they took a first step in the right direction. But it was only the first step. This should be the beginning of Disney’s commitment to the cause, rather than the end. “