Marvel Studios released a statement denouncing anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation on Tuesday afternoon. Marvel’s official words come after a week of controversy surrounding its parent company, The Walt Disney Company, and its initial lack of public response against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.
“We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Marvel Studios’ statement reads. The company shared the announcement on Twitter. “Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community. Today, we pledge to continue our strong commitment as allies who promote the values of equality, acceptance and respect.”
— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) March 15, 2022
Marvel Studios’ comments come amidst a stretch of controversy surrounding the Walt Disney Company involving CEO Bob Chapek’s initial decision for the corporation to take a soft stance on new legislation in Florida, popularly dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would limit discussions regarding gender identity and sexual orientation in educational environments. The bill was passed by the state’s House of Representatives on Feb. 24 and the state Senate in early March.
While Chapek’s initial statement expressed Disney’s “unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community,” it came with the caveat that he would not take a public stance regarding the legislation. Instead, Chapek argued that the biggest impact Disney could make “in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content [it produces.]”
The stance immediately drew sweeping criticism, not only from the general public, but also internally among Disney employees. In a statement attributed to LGBTQIA+ Pixar employees obtained by Variety, workers at the animation studio alleged that Disney corporate executives demanded cuts to “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection… regardless of when there is protest from both the creative teams and executive leadership at Pixar.” Additionally, a group of Disney employees are planning a week of in-person and virtual walkouts in protest of the company’s handling of the situation.