Less than one week ago, the Florida House of Representatives passed the Parental Rights in Education bill. The bill has been nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by critics. The bill would prevent teachers from talking about LGBTQ issues — including things like gender identity — until after third grade. It is currently being considered in the State Senate, where it is expected to pass. From there, it will most likely be signed into law by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
Since the bill’s passing in the House, many have called on Disney to speak out against the bill — including some politicians. Despite that, Disney has remained completely silent. Unlike the company, former Disney CEO Bob Iger tweeted the day the bill passed the House and said that it would put LGBTQ youth “in jeopardy”.
According to sources who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, current Disney CEO Bob Chapek does not like to publicly take a stance on certain issues. Sources said that he has resisted taking a public stance on the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and voting rights, as he considers them “irrelevant to the company and its businesses.” Sources also say that he does not believe in bringing a “partisan agenda to the workplace.” However, Chapek is planning on discussing the matter internally with Cast Members.
Chapek appears to want to handle certain controversial topics through internal dialogue. Latondra Newton, Disney’s chief diversity officer, sent a message to staff on Wednesday referencing “deeply troubling and heartbreaking” developments in the news, noting that Chapek had asked “to meet with leaders in our company’s LGBTQ+ community to discuss how Disney can best support these important and valued employees and cast members.” She said the company would schedule a March 22 “Reimagine Tomorrow” conversation — part of an ongoing program for Disney staff — that will be dedicated to “issues of concern to our LGBTQ+ colleagues,” and announced a company-wide “Reimagine Tomorrow Global Summit” for April 13 that will be “the first gathering of our employees worldwide to discuss our progress on and plans for improving diversity, equity and inclusion at Disney,” with Chapek participating.
While the company has remained quiet on a number of issues, Disney was the first studio to pull its films out of Russia. The move came after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops to invade Ukraine. Disney’s decision was quickly copied by other studios. Warner Bros., Paramount, and Sony have all stopped plans to release their films in Russia.
Chapek has struggled to find his footing at the Walt Disney Company since he took over in 2020. Fans have accused him of letting the magic of the Parks die due to budget cuts and his focus on saving money instead of creating magical experiences. Fans feel that they are getting a lot less and paying a lot more, and they put Chapek at the front of those changes.
Do you think Disney should speak out on the controversial “Don’t Say Gay Bill”?