The Walt Disney Company is currently dealing with an intense amount of backlash surrounding its relationship with Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay Bill”.
Disney recently held its annual shareholder’s meeting where we saw Disney CEO Bob Chapek discuss the recent controversy surrounding Disney’s position on Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. Chapek said he was sorry for the way Disney’s stance (or lack thereof) has affected Guests and employees and pledged $5 million to help protect LGBTQ+ rights. See Chapek’s statement here:
“I know that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill. We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes, engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
Chapek went on to say:
“I called Gov. DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if legislation becomes law it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families. The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address that.
I understand our original approach no matter how well-intended didn’t quite get the job done. We are committed to support the community going forward.”
Known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, this piece of legislation is as simple as the title. 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.”
While Chapek pledged a sizable donation, as of now, The Human Rights Campaign announced that it will not be accepting Disney’s sizeable donation until “meaningful action is taken”.
See the full statement below:
“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, and if they do, to work to get them off the books. Businesses have had and continue to have a major impact in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, from marriage equality to the defeat of House Bill 2 in North Carolina and beyond. 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.
“HRC encourages Disney, and all employers, to continue to fight for their employees – many of whom bravely spoke out to say their CEO’s silence was unacceptable – and the LGBTQ+ community by working with us and state and local LGBTQ+ groups to ensure these dangerous anti-equality proposals that harm LGBTQ+ families and kids have no place in Florida. Every student deserves to be seen, and every student deserves an education that prepares them for health and success — regardless of who they are. This should be the beginning of Disney’s advocacy efforts rather than the end.”
How do you feel about Disney’s stance on this new bill? Let us know in the comments below.
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