Disney CEO Bob Chapek addressed criticism over the firm’s dealing with of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill in the present day, saying he called the state’s governor to categorical “concern” with the bill and pledged tens of millions to charity in response to its passing. Chapek stated that the firm’s preliminary response, “no matter how well-intended, didn’t quite get the job done, but we’re committed to support the community going forward.”
Disney not too long ago got here underneath hearth for its refusal to brazenly condemn the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — which bans major faculty lecturers from “discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” — regardless of working a booming enterprise empire in the state. In an internal memo to staff despatched Monday, Chapek had written that “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” including that “they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame.” The refusal to communicate out towards the dangerous laws shortly garnered criticism from Disney followers, creators, and the company’s employees.
Speaking throughout the firm’s annual assembly of shareholders, Chapek stated Wednesday he would “like to take a moment to address some concerns that I’ve heard from many about the legislation impacting that LGBTQ+ community in Florida.” Claiming that Disney has “been strong supporters of the community for decades,” Chapek stated, he’s conscious “that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill.”
Chapek added that whereas “we were opposed to the bill from the outset,” the firm “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. And we were hopeful that our longstanding relationships with those lawmakers would enable us to achieve a better outcome.” Those discussions didn’t equate to significant affect, Chapek acknowledged, as the bill handed Florida’s Senate this week and is expected to be signed into law by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
The Disney boss stated that he personally called DeSantis on Wednesday morning so as to “express our disappointment and concern that if legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, nonbinary, 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 them,” Chapek stated. “Certainly, the outcome in Florida was not what many of us were hoping for, especially our LGBTQ+ employees. And unfortunately, legislation targeting their communities is being considered in many other states, which means this fight will go on.”
In order to fight bigoted laws focusing on the LGBTQ+ neighborhood, Chapek stated that Disney can be signing the Human Rights Campaign’s assertion opposing these efforts and pledged to give $5 million to organizations like HRC working to defend the rights of LGBTQ+ people.
“As I wrote to our employees earlier this week, we are committed to supporting community organizations like these so they are better equipped to take on these fights,” he stated.
“Meanwhile, we’re also reassessing our approach to advocacy, including political giving in Florida and beyond. I understand our original approach, no matter how well-intended, didn’t quite get the job done, but we’re committed to support the community going forward.”