Top executives from across Disney’s various divisions have conveyed their displeasure with CEO Bob Chapek’s mishandling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, according to sources close to the situation. The Walt Disney Corporation has been urged to come out against the pending bill that would prohibit sexual orientation and gender orientation education in kindergarten through third grade, according to protesters. Some protestors admitted that their public interest was not being respected. Some fans viewed Disney’s silence as dishonest, given that the corporation promotes gay pride products, benefits from its enormous LGBTQ fan base, and promotes itself as an inclusive company. Others said that Disney had an ethical responsibility to be against this bill because it was a big contributor to many of the key players in the policy’s approval.
What did Bob Chapek do?
Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Chapek remained silent on the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, later stating that he didn’t desire his company to be used as a “political tool” in the dispute. On March 7, Disney workers received a letter that read, “Because this struggle is much bigger than any one bill in any one state. I believe the best way for our company to bring about lasting change is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create, and the diverse community organizations we support.” The repercussions of this are what many saw as a non-response. Employees at Pixar and Disney wrote Chapek an open letter stating that Disney executives are using these LGBT characters in their works to profit off of but when it came to real change, they are backing out and not helping the LGBTQ community.
What did Bob Chapek resort to after facing backlash?
In addition to criticizing “Don’t Say Gay,” Bob Chapek also announced a $5 million donation to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), an organization that advocates for the LGBTQ+ community, to demonstrate the company’s “wholehearted support to the LGBTQ+ community.” For the time being, Disney also has halted its campaign spending in Florida, which had previously benefitted the most fervent supporters of the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. Disney certainly didn’t make these payments to support the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, according to Chapek, who noted that the corporation gave it to people “who have since taken views on both ends of the bill.”