Disney Executives Reportedly Rejected Pleas from Disney Parks, Experiences, & Products Leaders to Denounce Controversial ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

A new report from The New York Times reveals that when Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products leaders approached executives in The Walt Disney Company about responding to the controversial Parental Rights in Education bill, commonly called “Don’t Say Gay”, they were “rebuffed”.

Josh D'Amaro with Cinderella Castle

The action began as over 150 companies had signed on to a Human Rights Campaign letter denouncing the bill, which limits what educators can say regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, per the Times. Leaders of Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products, presumably including Chairman Josh D’Amaro, urged the corporate executives to take action and add their name to the list, but were “rebuffed” by corporate leaders.

The rejection came as Disney CEO Bob Chapek decided to take a more behind-the-scenes approach to political issues, choosing an attempt to use their significant lobbying power in Florida to soften the bill. This backfired significantly, prompting statements from various creators and employees of Disney against the company and eventually a full reversal and apology from Chapek regarding his bungling of the situation. Disney Parks issued a brief statement earlier today in support of LGBTQIA+ communities and against the controversial bill which passed in the Florida Legislature last week.

Employees still dissatisfied with the actions taken by Chapek are set to walk out today. In an attempt to get ahead of this, Chapek and LGBTQ+ leaders in the company held a virtual town hall, acknowledging the pain Disney caused when they decided not to speak out. Chapek briefly appeared during the call, saying “I understand where we have made mistakes — and the pain those mistakes caused. I know that our silence wasn’t just about the bill in Florida, but about every time an individual or institution that should have stood up for this community didn’t. I and the leadership team are determined to use this moment as a catalyst for more meaningful and lasting change,” per The New York Times.

Chapek also revealed that he will postpone a corporate management retreat set for next week in Orlando, and instead go on a “listening tour” at Disney worksites around the world. The company signed on in opposition of Texas’ controversial anti-transgender legislation earlier this week.

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