Well, that certainly took long enough. After weeks of back and forth between Walt Disney Company employees and the company’s executives — a tense exchange that included a walkout last week — Disney just released a full statement condemning Florida’s terrible “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which was signed into law today by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
“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,” said a statement released by a the Walt Disney Company. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organisations working to achieve that.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.”
What exactly the company will to do achieve its “goal” of repealing or striking down the legislature is still unclear. But it’s refreshing that Disney has finally said something strong and assertive about the legislation, which bans teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in school.
Disney employs about 75,000 in the state of Florida (many of them in its Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and hotels), making it one of the state’s biggest employers. And yet, as news of the bill began to break earlier this year, CEO Bob Chapek refused to condemn or speak out about it publicly. That changed in recent weeks as basically the entire company turned on him in a very public way, and this statement is, hopefully, the first step in Disney using its considerable resources and powers to battle a bill that is incredibly hateful toward the LGBTQIA+ community.