"Don’t Say Gay" bill ensnares Florida companies
“Equality matters deeply to us especially because our child, Charlee, is transgender and a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community,” Roy P. Disney, Charlee’s father, wrote in a fundraising letter sent by the HRC last week. Charlee Disney had initially announced a $250,000 matching grant last month at the organization’s annual gala; the family later decided to double the match, bringing a potential total donation to $1 million. Our employees see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good. Yes, we need to use our influence to promote that good by telling inclusive stories, but also by standing up for the rights of all. Join AllSides to read, share and understand all perspectives of today’s news and issues. June was LGBTQ Pride Month and for the first time, the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon aired ads supporting the LGBTQ agenda to their audience of children.
Disney hired and socialized with Jews, but also engaged in the same subtle denigration when they were not around. And he produced at least one animated anti-hitler, anti-nazi film, which won an Oscar and helped sell a ton of war bonds. It’s really one step forward, three steps backward with the current Disney corporate leadership. This egregious behavior goes to their treatment of employees and customers alike on pretty much every front.
At the same time, there’s a call for boycotting Disney — an act of ethical consumption that might be easier said than done. Berg explained that these small actions have allowed queer fans to forget about how Disneyland once had a policy that prohibited same-sex dancing, ultimately struck down by the Orange County Superior Court in 1984, or that a gay executive filed a sexual orientation discrimination suit against the company in 2021. Since the inception of “Gay Days” in the 1990s, Disney has passively supported the unofficially organized celebrations. The company has also courted queer influencers and sells rainbow-inspired merchandise. Behind the scenes, Disney extended partner benefits to LGBTQ employees in 1995 and last year implemented a new, more gender-inclusive dress code at Disneyland.
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Disney, which operates its theme park Walt Disney World near Orlando, has come under scrutiny for making political donations to key co-sponsors of the bill. However, cross dressers and trans folk should speak up about their real gender. For the second time this week I approached a very attractive female this time near a local bar. This strange hobby from the lgbt community is becoming quite a nuisance; I’d appreciate if you guys would wear a sign or something. “I could not be more unhappy with their political activities, both in terms of whom they fund and how they lobby.
In the internal memo to employees, Chapek emphasized that Disney’s diverse content is all the public statement the company needs, but according to the Pixar staff, Disney repeatedly removes queer content from projects. The bill—which passed the Senate and is widely expected to be signed into law by GOP Governor Ron DeSantis—sparked national condemnation from LGBTQ advocates who say the bill will further harm young members of the community and punish students who mention anything related to sexual orientation or gender identity. Disney has always been a conservative company that cosplays as “woke” when the market serves them. They will gladly feature POC and LGTBQ+ in their marketing and media while privately supporting legislation that is against those communities’ interests. They had a black Santa while simultaneously raising prices ensuring that a majority of black families wouldn’t even be able to get in the park to see him. They get congratulated publicly for being “progressive” while privately they are “keeping out an element”.
For me, that’s where it gets interesting because DeSantis’ response to Disney cutting off the donation spigot reveals much more than his own petty nature. It also unmasks what’s essentially a “pay-to-play” relationship between corporate America and the politicians they support. Many animation workers used established communication channels, through the Guild and employee groups, empowered in part, they say, by the momentum and frustration around compounding political and social issues.
After its quiet response to the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” Bill passed in Florida this week, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has confirmed the company would now donate $5 million dollars to protect the LGBTQ community and its rights. The announcement was made Wednesday, during the company’s Investor Day. Employees within Disney told Variety earlier this week that there is widespread disappointment across the company among LGBTQ+ employees and allies that this letter was not made public. Disney has made headlines for promoting LGBTQ elements in programming in the past few years, and Disney even brought an LGBTQ pride event to Disneyland Paris for the first time in its history last year.
The organization’s statement continues by urging Disney to deepen and sustain its advocacy efforts beyond the impact of a single donation. The family of Charlee Corra Disney, a great-grandchild of The Walt Disney Co. co-founder Roy O. Disney, is donating up to $500,000 to the Human Rights Campaign as a show of support to transgender and other LGBTQ+ people. We are committed to delivering quality independent Christian journalism you can trust. But it takes a lot of hard work, time, and money to do what we do.
Perhaps worse, they don’t know that it is taught at the college level, not in grade school, and certainly is not present in fifth-grade math books. DeSantis is aided by a cadre of state officials from bodies like the Florida Department of Education, which last week rejected more than 50 math books from next school year’s curriculum, claiming that some of the books referenced critical race theory. When the LGBTQ community expressed outrage over the measure, the entertainment conglomerate went a step further than most companies do on Black issues, writes Solomon Jones. Multiple sources also said Chapek’s moves over the last week made them question staying on the job. Several employees expressed that Disney’s size and industry prominence, however, make it “difficult to walk away” as doing so may mean no one is left to “challenge them” both narratively and in Disney’s hiring practices. In interviews with The Hollywood Reporter, and in letters to Disney leadership, LGBTQ staffers across the company denounced Chapek’s defense of Disney’s initial decision to not release a public statement regarding the passage of HB 1557/SB 1834.
Abigail Disney, a filmmaker and granddaughter of Roy O. Disney, who co-founded The Walt Disney Company with her granduncle Walt Disney, has also criticized the company, chastising the decision to donate to the sponsors and co-sponsors of Florida’s anti-LGBTQ legislation. “My regret in what happened is that it became ‘Disney’s first explicitly gay moment’ and it was never intended to be that. It was never intended to be a moment that should laud ourselves for, because frankly, I don’t think we did justice to what a real gay character in a Disney film should be,” he told The Independentlast month. It’s unlikely that the company would feel the pinch of someone canceling their streaming service or not visiting Disney World, when it counts dollars by the billion. The same goes for the Human Rights Campaign’s very public rejection of Disney’s $5 million donation, which has been largely seen as an apology donation or publicity grab — that kind of money is loose change for a company like Disney. However, current Disney CEO Bob Chapek has yet to make a personal statement outside of the official Disney company address.
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In comparison, former Disney CEO Bob Iger, who is more outspoken than Chapek on social issues, denounced the bill on social media. Chapek confirmed he spoke to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on the phone Wednesday and said he plans to meet in person with DeSantis to discuss how the legislation isn’t used as a weapon against children and families. The bill passed the state’s House of Representatives on 24 February and is poised to pass the state Senate on 7 March. To purchase items from this year’s Disney Pride Collection, go to shopDisney.com. To read more on the organizations Disney is supporting through its Pride Collection, go to TWDCPrideCollection.com. Disney also announced that all profits from sales of The Disney Pride Collection through June 30 would be donated to organizations that support LGBTQ youth and families.
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The swift, critical swell that met the company surprised even some of its employees. For many in animation’s LGBTQ community, they said the “bar is on the ground” when it comes to expecting genuine and informed support from Disney or any other Hollywood animation studio. But in the hours following Chapek’s initial memo to staff on Monday, staffers quickly began mobilizing, their energy matching the urgency they felt around the legislation’s larger implications. The bill has passed the Florida legislature and is awaiting the Governor’s signature, and only at yesterday’s shareholder meeting did CEO Bob Chapek finally announce the company’s opposition to it – after immense public pressure to do so.
If lgbtq friendly merch makes them money then thats what they make. I don’t think that it says that they are the least bit inclusive at the core. This bill, called the Parental Rights in Education bill, but most famously known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was passed by the Florida’s House of Representatives on Thursday. It will prohibit “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s primary schools. The bill, which would limit discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, is reportedly headed to his desk, where he’s expected to sign it into law any day now.
All week long, members and allies of the LGBTQ community as well as Disney shareholders have called for Chapek’s resignation. During the company-wide meeting Wednesday, however, Chapek made it clear that he would not be stepping down from his position. Instead, he said he would be meeting with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to discuss the company’s “concerns” over the potential legislation. At Wednesday’s annual shareholder meeting, Chapek revealed he opposed the Florida bill that limits what educators can teach about sexual orientation and gender identity in schools. Disney’s promise to pull funding from DeSantis and other Florida politicians is bigger than what Major League Baseball did by relocating its All-Star Game after Georgia passed a voter suppression law that disproportionately impacted Black people. Disney’s promise is bigger than JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon taking a knee after the murder of George Floyd.
Burke said she supports featuring “many, many” characters who are LGBTQIA, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer , intersex, and asexual . So people not wanting teachers talking their kid into gender confusion is exclusive. Whether you agree with homosexual lifestyles or not, sexual issues do not need to be discussed with elementary age grade school kids. Disney as a company can be inclusive of whatever lifestyles they choose, but can still decide that sexual discussions of any kind can be left up to the parents and not forced on elementary age grade school kids. I know it’s difficult to hold this kind of integrity in your field of work. Shameful that Disney would make half measures like changing phrasing and theming in their parks while congratulating themselves meanwhile making real financial support that benefits bigoted policies.
Disney cast member Nicholas Maldonado protests his company’s stance on LGBTQ issues, while participating in an employee walkout at Walt Disney World, Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. When reached by Newsweek, a Disney spokesperson referred to the internal memo. "I do not want anyone to mistake a lack of statement for a lack of support. We all share the same goal of a more tolerant, respectful world. Where we may differ is in the tactics to get there," he wrote. In an internal company memo, Chapek acknowledged the situation, writing the company has "more work to do" while also highlighting millions of dollars donated to LGBTQ charities. The majority of Americans never liked or trusted him and still don’t. His only chance in 2024 would be similar tiny victories in battleground states to what he achieved in 2016.
The summer 2020 racial justice protests and the ongoing union contract negotiations were among past and present events that heightened responses and helped spur action, sources said. Some staff, meanwhile, received internal communications through the week from division executives in an attempt to show solidarity or support even as groups across Disney continued to deliver their own employee-backed statements to the company, according to a source familiar with the situation. Some industry workers had at one point considered physical actions but were still working out whether a boycott or rally was feasible. Disney is "established as being a place safe for children, inspiring for children and accepting of children. This goes against all of that," one TV animation writer told The Hollywood Reporter amid the ongoing controversy over the company’s actions as the Florida bill moved through the statehouse. The governor went on to slam Disney for refusing to condemn human rights abuses in China, where the entertainment giant does substantial business, before adding, "in Florida, our policies got to be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musings of woke corporations."
But, at the same time, because of his financial relationship to Disney, it isn’t simple for him to boycott. Former CEO Iger previously spoke out about political issues, including threatening to cease production in Georgia if the state passed anti-abortion “heartbeat bill” in 2019 and President Trump’s Muslim ban legislation. The Walt Disney Company issued a statement of support for the LGBTQ+ community amid the backlash against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, supported by state politicians that the corporation has funded. But the company is still funding the homophobic politicians who’ve supported the bill, and nothing Disney CEO Bob Chapek has said indicates that that will change.
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Watermark prints up to 20,000 copies every other Thursday, and distributes them in more than 500 locations throughout Orlando, Tampa Bay, Sarasota and throughout the state. The newspaper donates more than $200,000 annually in free and sponsor advertising to worthy local and national LGBT non-profits. Now DeSantis, who is all but certain to run for president in 2024, is pushing Florida’s state legislature to revoke the special status that allows Walt Disney World to operate a private government over its Florida properties. The injunction is the first victory for three families of trans children who sued the state. She says if she succeeds, her critics will say it’s because she’s transgender rather than because of her lifelong work at improving her game. The news you care about, reported on by the people who care about you.
"We’re in a new age where it’s not just black and white anymore," Simone says in the ad. Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media. And yet Republicans and most Independents are the ones opposing the sexualization of young children, so what does that say about today’s Democrat party?
The Walt Disney Company, one of the world’s biggest media and entertainment empires, prides itself on a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer friendly culture. But today its reputation for inclusivity and tolerance is under scrutiny – as are its deep ties to the political establishment and the lack of LGBTQ representation in its films. The new push aimed at inclusivity comes as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday that bans Florida teachers from discussing LGBTQ topics like sexual orientation or gender identity with students unless they’re in the fourth grade or higher. Thank you to all who have reached out to me sharing your pain, frustration and sadness over the company’s response to the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was.
In the U.S., those organizations are the Zebra Coalition, GLSEN, PFLAG National, The Trevor Project, the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the LGBTQ Center Orange County, the San Francisco LGBT Center and the Ali Forney Center. For all their bigoted bluster about critical race theory and math books, about stolen elections and voting rights, about LGBTQ lessons and kindergarten, DeSantis and his colleagues are just greedy politicians. And, in their phony culture wars, as in any conflict, truth is among the first casualties. In a state where self-righteous politicians so often position themselves on the front lines for white supremacy, it’s almost disappointing to know that it really comes down to money. While having co-workers who are just as furious was meaningful support, some LGBTQ employees said they were “gearing up for a more frustrating and exhausting fight” than they wanted, one writer told THR. The statement also called out Chapek’s memo for pushing his apparent belief that “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” despite the fact that Disney has taken stances against many other causes.
The bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign, and which has been labeled by the ACLU of Florida as a government censorship bill, bans classroom discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade by school officials and third parties. Chapek’s most recent personal political donations were reportedly made in 2017, when he and his wife, Cynthia, each donated $500 to then-House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who has his own history of anti-LGBTQ votes. That same year, Chapek also donated $500 to a McCarthy-affiliated PAC. Disney started offering benefits to partners of LGBTQ+ employees in 1996 and launched the first Disney Pride group in 1999. As the Orlando Sentinel stated, the bill’s Senate sponsor, Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley, has actively backed anti-gay legislation for years, including laws that would block gay couples from adopting children. Disney is proud to support natural disaster response and recovery efforts globally.
But many are far from satisfied, and now, employees at Pixar are calling out the company for censoring LGBTQ content. Benjamin Siemon, a Disney writer, condemned the company for not speaking up about the bill. Senate President Wilton Simpson, who voted for the bill, received $21,500 in donations from Disney.
As rich and nourishing as these stories are, the queer sensibility that resonates with queer Disney fans only operates in allegory. Despite the existence of singing flatware and an undersea kingdom where the buff mermaid sea king’s favorite thing is musicals featuring his many daughters, there are no actual gay characters in Beauty and the Beast or The Little Mermaid. ESPN believes all kids should have access to play and supports programs that reach kids living in communities where sports access is limited or nonexistent. First Tee is a youth organization that enables kids to build the strength of character that empowers them through a lifetime of new challenges. In partnership with the PGA TOUR, ESPN teamed up with First Tee to build a robust, year-round program in the Los Angeles area that will be launching in spring of 2022 to ensure that underserved and underrepresented youth have access to the game of golf and character-building programs. For more than 70 years, The Walt Disney Company has supported the Marine Toys for Tots program to bring comfort, happiness and inspiration to children and families in need during the holiday season.
Pre-COVID, Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products division accounted for more than one-third of all company revenue. Additionally, Baxley “once compared kids who live with same-sex parents to kids raised by alcoholics and abusers and later said, ‘I’m not phobic, but I simply can’t affirm homosexuality.’” The Walt Disney Company has allegedly donated to Baxley, among other bill supporters. We also provide an opportunity for employees to turn their hours of volunteer service into a financial donation through Disney VoluntEARS Grants. Comfort, happiness, and inspiration to kids and families around the world. Their efforts on these communities, we count the entire grant and if the organization does not spend a majority, we count a proration of the grant. For grants to these two types of organizations, we rely on their self-reported percentages regarding communities served.