Disney: ‘Don’t Say Gay’ should never have been signed

ABOVE: Photo via the Walt Disney World Facebook page.

In response to Governor Ron DeSantis signing House Bill 1557 or “Parental Rights in Education” into law March 28, a spokesperson for the Walt Disney Company issued a statement condemning the 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 begins. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.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.”

The Los Angeles-based Disney has come under fierce criticism from LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, allies, and within the company from its LGBTQ+ employees who staged a walk-out protest condemning the perceived lack-luster response to the legislations by the media conglomerate.

The Disney employees protested what they viewed as an “inadequate” stance taken by the company and its CEO, which they say “utterly failed to match the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA+ safety represented by this legislation.”

After widespread criticism for declining to speak out against the legislation, Chapek ultimately apologized, publicly opposed the measure, paused all political donations in Florida and urged Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to reject the bill in a phone call.

DeSantis after the conversation with the Disney CEO fired back in a scathing attack statement.

“How do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices at the hands of the CCP,” DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw quotes the governor as saying.

Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, the Executive Director of GLSEN echoing the Disney statement.

“This latest attack has already had a chilling effect on LGBTQ+ youth, who already experience victimization such as bullying, harassment, and discrimination,” she shared. “The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is an exclusionary curriculum ban that deprives LGBTQ+ youth of the opportunity to see themselves reflected in the classroom and their non-LGBTQ+ peers from learning about LGBTQ+ communities. Based on more than 20 years of research conducted by GLSEN, LGBTQ+ youth who attend schools with inclusive curriculum have higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging, are more likely to pursue post-secondary education, along with many other benefits that promote long-term wellbeing and achievement.

“We will continue to fight for positive representation and visibility of LGBTQ+ communities in all schools across the country and stand in solidarity with LGBTQ+ youth in Florida,” Willingham-Jaggers added.

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