As Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law on Monday, The Walt Disney Company issued a statement vowing to help repeal the controversial legislation.
“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 “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.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.”
Earlier this month, Chapek drew backlash for Disney’s quiet response to the bill as it made its way through the Florida legislature, as well as a report that the company has given money to the bill’s sponsors. Variety exclusively reported that before the bill passed the Florida Senate, LGBTQ Disney employees sent the CEO and other company leaders a letter requesting the company “issue a public statement condemning anti-LGBTQIA+ policies in the U.S.”
When Chapek did issue a public statement, which claimed the “biggest impact” Disney can make “in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content” it produces, he sparked outrage for taking a soft stance.
At a shareholders meeting days later, Chapek announced that Disney would pledge $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ rights organizations, also saying he would meet with Gov. DeSantis to discuss Disney’s “concerns” about the legislation.
Pixar employees then issued a letter demanding Disney withdraw financial support of all legislatures who supported the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and “take a decisive public stand” against the legislation and others like it. The letter also alleges that Disney corporate executives have demanded cuts from “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection… regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.”