Despite it being uncovered that Disney donated large sums of money to Florida Republicans supporting the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, the company has issued a statement of solidarity for the LGBTQ+ community.
Last year, at least three Disney businesses donated a total of $4,000 (£3,021) to the leading sponsors of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation for their re-election efforts in 2022.
I feel embarrassed to be a Disney Cast Member for the first time in my 10+ years with the company. Disney’s leadership’s tone deaf response to the #DontSayGay bill is appalling and disgusting. I’ll be emailing leaders all week demanding that more be done.
— Sean Rice (@SeanRice) March 7, 2022
The measure, officially known as House Bill 1557, or “Don’t Say, Gay,” as it’s been dubbed by critics, has been criticized by Democrats, parents, and the White House, which has called it “hateful.”
It will suppress discussions on homosexuality and gender identity in Florida classrooms if it becomes law.
“We recognize how important this topic is to our LGBTQ+ colleagues and many others,” the Walt Disney Company said in a statement released via Good Morning America.
I can't believe Disney's / bob chapek is donating $100,000s to sponsors and legistrators of the Dont Say Gay bill. Kids get bullied, disowned, beat up, and murdered because of this shit. bob, kids will literally die because of you. You will have blood on your hands.
— Greenish (@greenishtweets) March 7, 2022
“For nearly a century, Disney has been a unifying force that brings people together. We are determined that it remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
The statement continues: “The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here, and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community.”
The current Disney CEO Bob Chapek is yet to make a personal statement beyond the official Disney company address.
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) March 7, 2022
Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who sponsored the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, has previously supported anti-gay legislation.
He compared LGBT parents to drug addicts and violent parents in 2013.
“I mean I sat an hour and a half with a teacher telling me, ‘Well this child has got serial men coming through the house, this one has two mummies, this one has an abusive father who’s home, this has alcoholism, this one has drug abuse.
Is @Disney an #LGBTQ and family-friendly business, or are they just another money-grubbing big corporation? They are playing both sides of the #DontSayGay bill. SHAME! #ShameontheMouse pic.twitter.com/zKU2QUo51T
— David M. Alexander (@moses1david) March 3, 2022
“It was a casualty warfare event to hear – just her classroom – how many dysfunctional, atypical, to me, structures are in the way of a kid having a chance to learn,” Baxley said.
Disney Photo Imaging donated $1,000 (£756) to Baxley’s 2022 campaign. Disney Vacation Development Inc and Disney Destinations LLC each gave him $1,000 in 2018.
Wow @Disney and Bob Chapek won't condem Florida's #DontSayGay bill. Does he not realize how much his company relies on the LGBTQ+ community both as employees and consumers? Disney is synonymous with happiness and joy, but this bill is grounded in hate. #BoycottDisney #DontSayGay
— Nick 🇺🇦🇺🇦 (@sharks_guy45) March 7, 2022
The announcement of Disney’s charitable contributions has sparked widespread outrage.
Abigail Disney, the daughter of former Disney animation chief Roy E. Disney and a great-niece of Walt Disney, took to Twitter to protest the company’s financial support for the measure.
— Zyke| 🏳️🌈 (@Zyke_18) March 7, 2022
“I could not be more unhappy with their political activities, both in terms of whom they fund and how they lobby,” Disney wrote. “I would strongly support a law to require all corporations to reveal ALL of their funding and lobbying moves.”
Benjamin Siemon, the creator of Disney’s cartoon series Ducktales, expressed he was “deeply saddened” at the company’s “silence when it comes to speaking out against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.”