Animation Guild Speaks Out, Says Disney “Failed” After “Don’t Say Gay” Statement

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The Animation Guild’s Executive Board and QueerTAG Committee’s are speaking out after The Walt Disney Company released a statement on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, saying it was a “momentous misstep.”

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After multiple days passed by, The Walt Disney Company finally released a statement on the newly passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill. But even after Disney finally released a statement on the matter, fans were even more upset and angry. Disney stated that it understood the issue’s importance to employees and customers, but fans felt the statement was a “slap in the face”.

After the backlash from the initial statement, the Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek sent out an internal email to Cast Members, which was leaked online — and now fans are calling for him to be fired from the company (again).

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The Walt Disney Company has shown support for the LGBTQ+ community in the past, and a portion of Disney’s Cast Members who fall within the community, so seeing Disney wait as long as they did to release a statement upset many.

Many are dubbing the bill the “Don’t Say Gay” bill because it targets the LGBTQ community. Specifically, it states:

“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

While Chapek has taken one approach to responding to the bill, former Disney CEO Bob Iger Tweeted that he supported President Joe Biden’s stance:

I’m with the President on this! If passed, this bill will put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy.

When speaking to the controversial Florida bill, which was passed at the end of February, the NPR states:

“The legislation prohibits any instruction about sexuality or gender between kindergarten and third grade “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

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After many Disney fans took to social media to express their disappointment with the company, as well as journalists and reporters, more companies are releasing statements on the way Disney is handling this, including The Animation Guild and the QueerTAG Committee. They took to social media to share their statement, which reads in part:

The Animation Guild and the QueerTAG Committee want to express our immense disappointment with how The Walt Disney Company has responded to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. It is disheartening that Disney, one of the world’s most successful brands with massive resources and a global platform, failed to take any action to help prevent the passage of this bill.

It is one thing to say that you “unequivocally stand in support of our LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and their communities.” It’s quite another for you to stand silent while this scurrilous piece of homophobic legislation passes. To quote one of your own properties, “With great power comes great responsibility.” You have failed that test in Florida.

You can read their full statement here.

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Both Images: Credit: Screenshot via My Disney Experience/Disneyland App

The Walt Disney Company as a whole has been pushing inclusion for quite some time now. From reimagining Splash Mountain into a The Princess and the Frog theme to having a gender neutral dress code at the Parks, the company has made multiple efforts in depicting more accurate representation.

We have also seen the Disney Parks transition the welcome announcements Guests hear in various lands and attractions to be more accommodating to all Guests when walking into the theme parks. Instead of greeting Guests by saying, Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” the theme parks now say, “Hello everyone,” moving toward a more inclusive statement that applies to people of all genders. You can read more about this here.

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Disney has also listed out their intentions for this new initiative.

  • To make progress that ensures our workforce reflects the market.
  • To establish inclusion standards across all Disney General Entertainment content. By 2022, 50% of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content will come from underrepresented groups.
  • Over $100M Charitable Giving to programs serving underrepresented communities (Fiscal Year 2020). To ensure we direct more than 50% of our annual charitable giving to programs serving underrepresented communities.
  • To put the responsibility for an inclusive culture in the hands of our leaders and employees through comprehensive education and engagement efforts.
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The recent efforts made by The Walt Disney Company is the reason many are surprised with Disney’s statement and Chapek’s email on the bill.

How do you feel about Disney’s statement or Chapek’s email on the “don’t say gay” bill? Do you agree with the Animation Guild? Let us know in the comments below.

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