Disney CEO Bob Chapek informed shareholders at the company’s annual meeting Wednesday that Disney opposes the Parental Rights in Education legislation. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ spokesperson, Christina Pushaw, recently said that the “bill that liberals inaccurately call “Don’t Say Gay” would be more accurately described as an Anti-Grooming Bill.”
Critics of the bill – which passed the Senate and the House and awaits action by Governor DeSantis – have repeatedly mischaracterized provisions in the legislation while using the “Don’t Say Gay” moniker to rally opposition among progressives and the LGBTQ community.
Disney has been criticized in the national media and by progressive elected officials in Florida for not publicly opposing the legislation.
Florida Representative Anna V. Eskamani, who represents parts of Orlando, called on “the Walt Disney Company to STOP donating to the campaigns of state lawmakers that sponsor anti-LGBTQ+bills, like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill …”
At the close of his prepared remarks to shareholders, Chapek said, “I’d like to take a moment to address some concerns I’ve heard from many about the legislation impacting the LGTQ+ community in Florida.”
He said that while “we have been strong supporters of the community for decades, I know that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill. We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we felt we could be more effective working behind the scenes, engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. And we were hoping that our longstanding relationships with those lawmakers would enable us to achieve a better outcome. But, despite weeks of effort, we were ultimately unsuccessful.”
In a discussion with Governor DeSantis on Wednesday, Chapek said he expressed his disappointment and “concern that if the legislation becomes law it could be used to target LGBTQ+ kids and families. The governor heard our concerns. He agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address that.”
Chapek also announced that “we are signing the human rights campaign statement opposing such legislative efforts around the country and pledging $5 million towards organizations including the HRC working to protect LGBTQ rights.”
He closed with a warning to elected officials. Chapek noted that Disney is “reassessing our approach to advocacy, including political giving in Florida and beyond.”
Campaign records compiled by OpenSecrets show that Disney donated at least $253,850 to the senators who voted to pass the bill. The donations included $5,500 to Senator Dennis Baxley, who introduced the bill and $21,500 to Senate President Wilton Simpson, who voted for the bill. Also, Senators Manny Diaz Jr. and Debbie Mayfield have received more than $20,000 throughout their various political campaigns.
In response to Chapek’s comments, DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw said, “This is the first time we have heard from Disney regarding HB 1557. The governor did take the call from Mr. Chapek. The governor’s position has not changed. No in-person meeting has been scheduled yet.”
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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star.
Photo “Bob Chapek” by The Walt Disney Company.
THIS IS what your kids are being shown and taught, through Disney’s “imagineers”
Mickey Mouse Just Got One Hot, Gay Makeover
08/29/2015 09:07am EDT | Updated September 1, 2015
HUFFINGTON POST – 08/29/2015 09:07am EDT | Updated September 1, 2015
Step aside, Minnie. There’s a new Mickey in town.
Thanks to Alfredo Roagui, a Mexican graphic designer and illustrator, Mickey Mouse has been reimagined as a tattooed gay heartthrob, complete with a hip mustache and the kind of abs you dream about.
And the artist didn’t stop there. Roagui created other queer characters inspired by movies like “Beauty and the Beast,” “Rapunzel” and “The Little Mermaid.” Roagui spoke with HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps on Wednesday about what inspired these much-appreciated recreations.