Marvel Studios Denounces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill as Disney Employees Plan Walkout

Marvel Studios Denounces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill as Disney Employees Plan Walkout
Captain America and the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first openly gay character, Joe Russo. (Screenshot: Marvel Studios)

Disney’s inability to quickly address the company’s involvement in funding legislators involved with Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill has seen plenty of internal and external dissatisfaction with the House of Mouse. But now, things are slowly starting to change — if not nearly enough.

Last night, in the wake of news that queer Disney employees across the company were planning walkouts to protest Bob Chapek’s response to the aforementioned Florida legislation, seeking to curb acknowledging the very existence of queer people in educational settings, Marvel Studios has become the latest arm of the Disney company to release a public statement denouncing anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation.

In a statement released on Twitter the studio pledged to promote the values of equality, saying in part, “We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.” The studio went on to say, “Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community.”

Much of the reaction to Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s turnaround on the company’s response to the Florida bill — in the wake of the revelation that Disney had donated money to several of the legislators behind its creation — has been internal to the company. Reports last week revealed a letter from Pixar employees sent to Disney that lambasted the company’s response, as well as alleged a history of extreme censorship of queer content across the studio’s output, and this week saw the unprecedented announcement of walkouts staged by LGBTQIA+ Disney staff and supporting allies to protest the company’s inaction, after Chapek apologised for Disney’s silence on the bill in a message to employees, and formally paused all political spending in Florida.

Marvel’s statement is one of the first major public-facing comments a part of Disney has released. Lucasfilm, of course another major branch of the studio, also released a statement to Instagram attached to an image of the Star Wars Rebel Alliance’s insignia decked out in the colours of the Pride flag. The caption says that the studio will “resoundingly and unequivocally denounce the legislations in Florida, Texas, Idaho, and beyond, that target the [LGBTQIA+] community and infringe upon their human rights.” As of writing this, that statement has yet to appear on any of Lucasfilm’s other social accounts, including the Star Wars channels on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

Still, after weeks of silence, this is a pretty small step and comes at a time the company should be especially supportive of its LGBTQIA+ employees and fans — in particular the rights of trans people, as they’re most recently under attack. Disney’s attempts to stand by its far-from-inspiring content are no longer enough, and the eyes of both employees and consumers are watching on to see when and if they’ll do more.