Politics have been heavily featured next to The Walt Disney Company name for quite some time now, and things seem to only be ramping up.
Known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, this piece of legislation has left Disney fans in an uproar. As stated by NPR, “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.”
At first, Disney was silent on the matter, releasing half-hearted statements regarding their stance.
Disney preaches inclusivity within its Parks, movies, entertainment, and advertisement, so it may come as a surprise that the company has actually helped to fund supporters of this “don’t say gay” bill. The Senate sponsor, Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley, has actually backed anti-gay legislation in Florida for years. Baxley once compared kids with same-sex parents to kids raised by alcoholics and abusers, saying: “I’m not phobic, but I simply can’t affirm homosexuality.”
The next year, The Walt Disney Company wrote Baxley a check, with the most recent one coming in last year.
Then, Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out and sided with the LGBTQ+ community, condemning the bill. Chapek stated he was in talks with Florida Governor DeSantis, however, the bill has now been signed by the Governor, who has stated Disney was wrong to combat said bill.
Most recently, Christopher Rufo released internal Disney videos in which those in charge discuss how they insert the “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” into children’s programming, according to The New York Post. The publication noted:
Those were the words used by Disney Television Animation executive producer Latoya Raveneau, who said she is “adding queerness” wherever she can — with Disney’s blessing, as the company is “going hard” to be supportive. The …footage also featured Disney Parks’ diversity and inclusion manager, Vivian Ware, saying the company has “removed all of the gendered greetings” at its theme parks.
It should be noted that the publication’s article swings heavily against Disney’s attempt to create more inclusive films. Disney has not kept it a secret that they plan to push diversity in the coming months and years when it comes to their content. We have already seen how children of different nationalities are finding films with more diverse cultures like Encanto (2021) to be life-changing, as they can finally see themselves on screen. Now, Disney plans to move forward with that ideology in terms of having a stronger LGBTQ+ representation on screen.
Although many love this push, there are some that do not agree with this new strive for further representation. Now, someone is taking a stand against this upcoming content. The Daily Wire‘s Ben Shapiro has already taken fire at Disney by assisting Gina Carrano. The Mandalorian actress who played Cara Dune in the Star Wars spinoff series was let go by Disney for her political posts and comments, which led her to Shapiro to assist in developing a new film.
Now, Shapiro is speaking out on the “gay agenda” he believes Disney to be acting upon. Shapiro noted that he once loved Disney, and actively showed their content to his kids at a young age but now feels differently. The Washington Post stated:
But then Disney got political, he claimed. Gay characters appeared in their movies and those characters sometimes kissed each other. Shapiro said the company he once loved was “being held hostage by the woke.”
At an employee town hall, Daily Wire co-CEO Jeremy Boreing said the company will spend at least $100 million over the next three years to offer children’s entertainment. DW Kids will provide live-action and animated shows to subscribers through the company’s streaming service starting next year.
It seems that The Daily Wire was always planning on delving into kids content, however, the recent news cycle with Disney convinced them to move up their timeline.
“Americans are tired of giving their money to woke corporations who hate them,” Boreing said. “They’re tired of giving their money to woke media companies who want to indoctrinate their children with radical race and gender theory.”
Although The Daily Wire will surely be able to fund and develop their own children-based content, it is highly unlikely that the company would be able to overshadow Disney+ and the constant content being generated by The Walt Disney Company.
We have seen Cast Member dress code change when it comes to the “Disney Look,” allowing Cast Members to express themselves more while at work. It also allows more opportunity for others who want to work for Disney, as before the change, anyone with visible tattoos that they could not cover with a costume would not be allowed to work. This also existed for certain hairstyles, colors, piercings, nails, and more.
Disney’s College Program also opened up the option for participants to choose someone of the opposite gender to live with if they would like, to ensure that every participant has the best and most comfortable experience possible. On-screen, we are starting to see Disney normalize various family types and include characters in the LGBTQ+ community as both leading subjects or just casual characters.
The Walt Disney Company has created an all-new initiative called Reimagining Tomorrow: Where We All Belong. On the new website, it states:
At Disney, inclusion is for everyone.
Reimagine Tomorrow is our way of amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories as well as championing the importance of accurate representation in media and entertainment. Because we are all greater than a single story and we all deserve to feel seen, heard and understood.
There is then also a spot for visitors on the site to say what kind of stories they want the world to see. Once you select an option, you can learn more about someone or a project Disney highlights in that category.
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.
There is also a video on the website that helps break down stereotypes of people that many typically may place on others. Disney acknowledges that they have a large influence when it comes to shaping mindsets due to their films. The video admits that “We haven’t always gotten it right,” but it seems Disney has decided to learn from their past mistakes and move forward and learn from them.
We have already heard of the progress coming along on the new Princess and the Frog attraction that will replace Splash Mountain’s racist undertone scenes due to the Song of the South IP, as well as changing the storyline on both Walt Disney World Resort’s and Disneyland Resort’s Jungle Cruise attraction to ensure cultural appropriation disappears.
If you want to visit the new site for Reimagining Tomorrow, click here.
What do you think about the ongoing controversies surrounding Disney?