Disney CEO Meets Governor DeSantis About Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

“Disney, please, say ‘gay’.”

DuckTales Writer Benjamin Siemon tweeted a plea on Sunday, March 6, join the wave of LGBTQ artists and advocates push the Walt Disney Company to take a clearer stance against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, a controversial law that prevents educators from discussing sexual orientation in public school classrooms based on grade level. Disney’s huge stake in Florida’s tourism economy — and its huge stake in culture, as an outlet for progressive and representative ideals — put CEO Bob Chapek under pressure to oppose the bill. The company’s stance, communicated only Monday by an internal memo to employees from Chapek, is one of neutrality.

But at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Chapek managed to address many of these concerns about the bill while still appeasing a crowd of investors divided on the issue. “We hoped that our long-term relationship with those legislators would yield better results, but despite weeks of efforts, we were not successful,” he said.

Sponsored in the Florida Senate by Republican Senator Dennis Baxley, Sponsor Walt Disney Co. have donated money in the pastmeasure, officially known as The Parents’ Rights in Education Bill, will prohibit classroom instruction “by school personnel or third parties about sexual orientation or gender identity” prior to fourth grade “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for the student.” according to state standards.” Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Republican who Disney also supports financially, voted for the bill, which was passed by the state Senate earlier this week and is now awaiting Republican Governor Ron. DeSantis approved. Governor expressed support for the bill, but has yet to confirm whether he signed it. If the law is passed, the law will take effect on July 1.

“I called Governor DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if the law becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target children and fellow families. masculine, lesbian, non-binary and transgender,” Chapek said on the shareholder call. According to the CEO, the governor agreed to meet with him and a group of LGBTQ members of Disney’s senior team in Florida.

Chapek added that Disney is re-evaluating how it financially contributes to politicians on both sides of the aisle, but stressed that the company can’t be sure what a politician will vote for when it donates. contributions and note that objections to contributions can come from either party on any number of issues. He also said the company would commit $5 million to LGBTQ rights organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign.

“Certainly the outcome in Florida is not what many of us were hoping for, especially our LGBTQ+ employees,” he said, “and unfortunately legislation targeting their communities is being enacted. considering many other states, that means this fight will continue.”

Chapek’s new comments echo the passive stance he conveyed to Disney employees earlier in the week. In one company-wide memo, the CEO insists that Disney cannot risk becoming a fodder for political debate by commenting on issues like the “Don’t Talk Gay” bill. Chapek writes: “As we have seen many times, the company’s claims do little to change outcomes or minds. “Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to divide and multiply. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change.”

Chapek cements the position by suggesting that the work of Disney collaborators can speak for the brand.

“I want to be crystal clear,” Chapek wrote in the memo. “I and the entire leadership team unequivocally support LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and communities. And, we are committed to creating a more inclusive company – and the world. We all share the same goal of a more tolerant, more respectful world. We can differ in what tactics to get there. And because this fight is so much bigger than any bill in any state, I believe the best way for our company to bring about lasting change is through inspirational content. The inspiration we produce, the welcoming culture we create, and the diverse community organizations we support. ”

“I’m tired of making Disney look good,” said Dana Terrace, creator of the popular Disney Channel animated series Owl house, tweeted on Monday in response to Chapek’s note. A number of Disney creators, actors, and employees have followed suit, hoping to spur greater resistance from the company.

Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Disney co-founder Roy O. Disney and a frequent skeptic about the company’s business, also supported her by a Twitter thread.

“The time of neutral is long gone,” she wrote on Tuesday. “That train left the damn station. Disney to do? Is it to pretend to be America or to define a vision of a world in which fantasy, love, kindness, loyalty, and loyalty are fundamental values. “

Late on Tuesday, the Animation Association released a statement via Instagram lashed out at Disney’s anarchist views.

“It goes without saying that you ‘unequivocally support our LGBTQ+ employees, their families and their communities.’ It’s completely different that you have to be quiet while the homophobia law is passed,” said the Guild.

In it full statementThe Guild noted that Chapek “does not unilaterally condemn this homophobic bill, but instead defends the company’s contributions to legislators who support it.”

During the Q&A session of the shareholder meeting, which was given to those disappointed that Disney did not directly oppose the bill, as well as one shareholder expressing displeasure about Disney’s support of LGBTQ rights, Chapek forced the Legislators must protect the public.

“Government. DeSantis assured me that he wants to ensure that this law cannot be weaponized in any way by individuals within the state or groups within the state to harm or target children and families. gay, lesbian, non-binary or transgender family,” Chapek said. that can’t happen in the state of Florida with this law.”

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