chapek desantis don't say gay
Credit: The Hollywood Reporter/Canva Creation

A majority of Disney employees support new Florida law, but they aren’t being heard, says this Disney employee and Congressional candidate

Despite what you’re hearing online, in the news, and maybe at the office, the majority of Disney’s employees are in favor of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, or the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.

That’s according to Jose Castillo, a current employee with the Walt Disney Company, who is running for Congress in Florida. Castillo recently told FOX News that the majority of Disney employees support the parental rights provisions in House Bill 1557, but they’re not as loud as the minority of employees who oppose the new legislation. And, he says, they far outnumber those who are against the bill.

Florida's controversial 'Don't Say Gay' bill: What's inside the proposed law  - ABC News

Credit: NBC News

“There is immense pressure to toe the company line,” Castillo said. “However, the reality is that those drawing attention to this issue are in the minority. The Disney Cast Members who support the parental rights defended by HB 1557 far outnumber those who are protesting against it.”

“Disney and similar corporations listen to the loudest voices in the crowd,” Castillo explained. “That is why I am standing up for our shared conservative values; to show other conservative Cast Members like me that we need to speak up and stand strong.”

Earlier this month, LGBTQ employees at Disney staged protests in response to what they viewed as a lack of condemnation of Florida’s bill.

House Bill 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill prohibits classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger, “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” But it does not prohibit casual discussion about those topics.

What Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill actually says

Credit: NBC News

Despite its being branded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics of the legislation, the bill does not ban the word “gay” in any school setting whatsoever. It doesn’t ban casual discussions about sexual orientation or gender identity in the classrooms. Further, it does not require schools to notify parents if a student identifies as gay or transgender.

Regardless, Disney condemned the bill in an official statement Monday after Governor Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law.

“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement reads. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”

Disney workers furious at CEO Bob Chapek's silence on 'Don't Say Gay' bill  in Florida | Fortune

Credit: Disney

Disney just announced that it has removed any mentions of traditional gender roles at its theme parks. Guests at Disney Parks will no longer hear the words, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.” Rather, they will here “welcome friends” or “dreamers of all ages.”

“I think that is a terrible miscalculation because it’s clear that the democratic process produced this law,” Castillo told Fox News Digital. “Floridians, including Disney employees, democratically elected Florida’s state House representatives and state senators, and those elected officials passed this law; and then, thank God, Governor DeSantis signed it into law.”

Castillo believes that Disney is “straying far away from the values that made this company the household name all Americans know and love,” citing The Walt Disney Company’s official mission statement, which reads:

“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds, and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier ‘entertainment’ company.”

An anonymous group of employees wrote an open letter to Disney, urging the company to adopt a politically neutral stance on this subject and to abandon its stance against the Florida legislation.

“The Walt Disney Company has come to be an increasingly uncomfortable place to work for those of us whose political and religious views are not explicitly progressive,” the employees wrote. “We watch quietly as our beliefs come under attack from our own employer, and we frequently see those who share our opinions condemned as villains by our own leadership.”

Castillo said he was not part of the group that wrote the letter; however, he does support it.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!