Disney CEO apologizes for not taking a stand against LGBT bill

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Disney CEO apologized for not taking a stronger stance against Florida education bill opposed by LGBT activists as state governor voices opposition to ‘woke companies’ dictating public policy.

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek wrote a letter Friday to employees apologizing for not taking a stronger stance against HB 1557. The bill, which authorized the state legislature, would prohibit “ classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation and gender identity”. for students in kindergarten through third grade.

The bill purports to be “a parental rights in education law” but is derided by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, a slogan criticized by Governor Ron DeSantis as a “false” narrative surrounding the legislation.

As the owner of Disney World and related destination-affiliated hotels and businesses, Disney has a large footprint in the Sunshine State.

In an email shared by Walt Disney World News Today, Chapek told his employees that he met with LGBT leaders at the company to discuss the legislation. He noted their disappointment that “the company has not issued a public statement condemning the legislation”.

“I want to be crystal clear: I and the entire leadership team unequivocally support our LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and their communities,” he wrote. “And we are committed to creating a more inclusive business and world.”

Chapek defended his decision not to issue a statement condemning HB 1557 in the email.

“As we have seen time and time again, corporate pronouncements do very little to change outcomes or minds. Instead, they are often armed by one side or the other to further divide and inflame” , Chapek said, “Put simply, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways of achieving change.”

In response to Chapek’s email, Abigail Disney, producer and director as well as great-niece of the Walt Disney Company namesake, posted a Twitter feed insisting that “[t]he days of neutrality are long gone.

“What is Disney for?” she asked. “Is it to pretend what America is, or is it to define a vision of a world in which fantasy, love, kindness, decency and loyalty are core values.”

Warning that the agenda behind HB 1557 was to “brutalize and eradicate” the LGBT community, Disney argued that “[n]Nothing in the “don’t say gay” bill or Chapek’s memo is consistent with any of those values.

“Many LGBTQI people and their allies work for or look to Disney for an ally,” she explained. “But Chapek is more concerned about reactions from the right than his own loyal fans and employees.”

“It’s the wrong leadership at the wrong time,” she continued. “There is no more margin. When one side asks to erase the other from the face of the earth, whether for reasons of sexuality, race or for any other reason, to seek margin is cowardly and morally bankrupt.

Following the refusal by Disney and others, Chapek released a second letter to Disney employees on Friday, thanking everyone who reached out to him to share their “pain, frustration and sadness at the company’s response” to the project. of law.

“Talking to you, reading your messages and meeting you helped me better understand how painful our silence was,” Chapek said.

“It’s clear that this is not just a problem with a bill in Florida, but rather another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I apologize.”

Chapek pledged to increase financial support for “advocacy groups to fight similar legislation in other states.”

“We are working hard to create a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values,” Chapek added.

Chapek announced that Disney “is suspending all political donations in the State of Florida pending this review.” The announcement came after Disney received criticism for political donations to Republican lawmakers who support the bill. Chapek addressed those donations in his initial letter, saying the company made contributions to “Republican and Democratic lawmakers who subsequently took a stand on both sides of the legislation.”

In his follow-up letter, Chapek promised to “continue to engage with the LGBTQ+ community so I can become a better ally.”

“I truly believe that we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ+ community,” he concluded. “I missed the mark in this case, but I’m an ally you can count on – and I’ll be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility and opportunities you deserve.”

Before sending the memo outlining his opposition to HR 1557, Chapek had a phone call with Governor DeSantis, who supports the bill. Christina Pushaw, DeSantis publicist tweeted On Wednesday, Disney contacted the office to speak with the governor. She said, “This is the first time we’ve heard from Disney regarding HB 1557.”

“The governor took Mr. Chapek’s call. The governor’s position has not changed. No in-person meetings have yet been scheduled,” she tweeted.

“Disney is a family business that creates wholesome entertainment for children. The same Florida parents who take their families to Disney also support parental rights in education because they don’t want their young children exposed to content inappropriate about sex and gender theory in school.

DeSantis expanded on his conversation with the Disney CEO and double on his support for HB 1557 when meeting supporters on Thursday.

“The odds of me backing out of my commitment to students and my commitment to parents’ rights just because of fraudulent media accounts or woke corporate pressure, the odds of that are zero,” he said. declared.

In the video obtained by Fox News, DeSantis swiped Disney.

“When you have companies that have made a fortune from being family friendly and catering to families and young children…they have to understand that parents of young children don’t want this injected into the kindergarten classroom of their child,” the governor said.

DeSantis further argued that Disney upholds a double standard when it comes to human rights.

“And I also think you have companies, like Disney, that are going to say and be critical of parent rights, they’re going to be critical of the fact that we don’t want transgender in kindergarten and first grade classrooms, if that’s the hill they’re going to die on, so how can they explain lining their pockets with their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party?” He asked. “They don’t say a word about the really brutal practices you see there at the hands of the CCP.”

The governor assured that state policies will not be based on “woke corporate daydreaming.”

HB 1557 passed the Republican-controlled Florida House and Senate, and the bill still awaits DeSantis’ signature.

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be contacted at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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