The Disney CEO said on Friday that the campaign was suspending its political donations in Florida over the state’s so-called “Don’t Tell Gays” bill, and apologized for the campaign’s previous silence on the issue.
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights, and I let you down,” CEO Bob Chapek wrote in a statement to colleagues and the LGBTQ + community, released on Friday. “I’m sorry.”
The statement doubled comments he made in support of the LGBTQ + community during the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday.
Chapek and Walt Disney faced pressure this week for not publicly opposing a parenting bill on education in Florida. Legislation passed earlier this week bans the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools from kindergarten to third grade.
It has been dubbed the “Don’t Tell Gays” bill and has been criticized by some who believe the bill could harm already marginalized groups.
Disney, which operates four theme parks and dozens of hotels in Orlando, Florida, has been targeted by activists after it emerged that the company had provided financial support to some supporters of the bill in the state legislature.
The company has reportedly donated about $ 300,000 to these supporters over the past two years, according to a report by Popular Information, an online news site that tracks and reports on corporate political contributions.
Chapek said the campaign is reconsidering its approach to advocacy and is donating $ 5 million to organizations, including human rights campaigns working to protect LGBC + rights.
“In this case, I missed the goal, but I am an ally you can count on, and I will be an open champion for the defense, visibility and opportunities you deserve,” said Chapek.
The entertainment giant has made diversity and inclusion in the bulk of its corporate policies and stories in theme parks, movies and TV shows. Many believed that his silence on the bill was an independent statement.
“Our employees see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good,” said Chapek. “I agree. Yes, we must use our influence to promote this good by telling inclusive stories but also upholding the rights of all. ”
Chapek told shareholders on Wednesday that he had contacted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and tried to meet with him to discuss the bill. The DeSantis office confirmed that Chapek had called, but said the meeting had not yet been scheduled, according to a statement from CNBC.
DeSantis, a Republican, also doubled. Speaking to supporters in Boca Raton on Thursday, DeSantis said there was a “zero” chance that he was going to rescind his position on the bill, according to a video obtained by Fox News.
“You have companies like Disney that will talk and criticize parental rights, they will criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten in first grade,” he said.
“If this is the hill on which they are going to die, then how can they explain that they are stuffing their pockets with their relationship with the Chinese Communist Party? Because they do so and they earn a fortune and they don’t say a word about really hard practice.” which you see there at the hands of the CCP ”.
“And so in Florida, our policies should be based on the interests of Florida citizens, not on the reflections of awakened corporations,” he added.
DeSantis ’comments about Disney’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party were a common criticism of the entertainment campaign last week. Disney was one of several studios that suspended theatrical performances in Russia due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine, but did not do similar actions in China to treat Uighurs in Xinjiang province facing human rights abuses.
In 2020, Disney thanked Xinjiang government agencies for loans for the filming of “Mulan”, partially shot in the province.
Disney suspends political donations in Florida because of hostile reaction to the “Don’t Tell Gays” bill
Source link Disney suspends political donations in Florida because of hostile reaction to the “Don’t Tell Gays” bill