The company said it was wrong to keep silent as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill was passed
FILE PHOTO. The Walt Disney Studios logo seen displayed on a smartphone, October 07, 2021. © Global Look Press / Rafael Henrique/Keystone Press Agency
Disney CEO Bob Chapek addressed employees on Monday, saying the company made a mistake by not opposing Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law and would now take immediate action.
“We know the moment requires urgency – and words are not enough,” Chapek said in a virtual meeting with employees, as quoted to Reuters. “So we are taking some actions right now.”
Paul Richardson, Disney’s chief human resources officer, confirmed the company canceled a leadership meeting in Orlando, and had a planned diversity event scheduled for April 13 so that staff could express their concerns to the executives. Disney separately announced that Chapek and senior leaders would conduct a global listening tour to talk to Disney employees in the US and internationally.
Disney also announced that it created an LGBTQ+ task force to be led by Paul Roeder, senior vice president of communications for Disney Studios, and Lisa Becket, senior vice president of global marketing for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. The task force will develop a plan with the help of experts to ensure Disney is seen as “a force for good” by the LGBTQ+ community, children, and families.
Disney once again confirmed its decisions to halt political contributions in Florida and support Human Rights Campaign in its fight against the Texas governor’s order to treat gender-affirming medical treatment on children as “child abuse.”
The comments and decisions come amid internal controversies regarding the Florida law that limits classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity, called the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by opponents. While the CEO had spoken out against the legislation in an email to employees, Disney officially refused to condemn the law in public.
A group of Disney employees staged a week of strikes in response, calling on Disney to protect its LGBTQ+ staff and their families. Another walkout is scheduled for Tuesday.