The Walt Disney Company has been dealing with something of a PR nightmare in recent weeks. A hot button political bill in the state of Florida dealing with educators ability to discuss gender identity and sexual orientation has mobilized a lot of people and because Disney is the largest employer in the state, there were hopes that the company might, at the very least, make a public statement against the bill. The statement did eventually come, but only after a lot of delay. This has led to a planned walkout of the company today, but Disney is now lending official support to what was designed as a protest against the company.
A number of official social media accounts from The Walt Disney Company have posted messages of support to the LGBTQIA+ community on this day. This one, posted to the Disney Parks Instagram, makes reference to those Cast Members who are “making their voices heard today.” This comes even though the purpose of Disney employees making their voices heard today is specifically because Disney as a company took so long in making its voice heard.
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On the one hand, it is nice to see these statements of support. Marvel Studios posted a similar statement nearly a week ago. There’s nothing wrong with them on their face. At the same time, there’s frustration from many, both Cast Members and Disney fans, who feel that statements are about all that we get. When the opportunity came for action, Disney was largely silent.
It was during the recent Disney Shareholders Meeting earlier this month that CEO Bob Chapek finally made a public statement in opposition to the bill. Prior to that, all official statements had offered support for Cast Members without mentioning the bill by name or stating opposition to it.
Disney employees from all over the company are walking out all day today. The good news is that, based on these public statements, it would seem there should be no repercussions for those that choose to do so. Now, rather than simply asking Disney to say something, the walkout will be a call for Disney to take action against bills that potentially hurt the employees.
today I’m participating in a walkout alongside my fellow lgbtq+ Disney colleagues and allies. the company has taken steps to apologize, but we need action NOW, not after a year of review. to learn more visit @DisneyWalkout #DisneySayGay #DisneySayTrans #DisneyDoBetter pic.twitter.com/5dgPJvOEDeMarch 22, 2022
Disney is a massive company with an incredible amount of influence and many Disney Cast Members and Disney fans want to see the company use that influence for good. Disney CEO Bob Chapek, has recently promised that the action will come. It will certainly be interesting to see what form that will actually take. One thing that has apparently changed recently is that same-sex kiss in Pixar’s upcoming Lightyear, that was reportedly cut from the movie, has now apparently been put back in.
This follows a statement from Pixar staff that higher ups at Disney have called for similar cuts in the past. While many Disney movies from Beauty and the Beast to Jungle Cruise have included “gay moments” in recent years, even actors that have been part of them, like Josh Gad, have admitted they din’t go far enough.
While it took Disney some time to vocally stand against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the company has done so. It has also announced that it will cease all political donations in the state of Florida and will be reviewing the way that the company gives politically going forward.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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