Disney’s CEO Apologizes For The Company’s Lack Of Support Regarding The ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

After employees denounced him, Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek is now apologizing for the company declining to speak out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which was sponsored by politicians to whom the corporation reportedly donated money.

Chapek made an apology to LGBTQ employees in a memo to the company’s staff on Friday.

“Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was,” Chapek wrote. “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights.”

“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down,” he added. “I am sorry.”

Disney donated almost $200,000 in two years to Florida lawmakers who advocated for the anti-LGBTQ bill, according to government accountability news site Popular Information.

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Many Disney employees begged the company to oppose the legislation.

“If this bill was in place when I was growing up, I probably would not be here,” Franky Jr., who is a trans former cast member at Walt Disney World, previously told BuzzFeed News.

Walt Disney’s grandniece, Abigail Disney, who has previously criticized the company, also accused Chapek of being “more worried about right-wing backlash than about his own loyal fans and employees.”

“The times for neutrality are long since over,” Abigail Disney tweeted on Tuesday. “That train has left the goddam station. What is Disney for? Is it for pretending what America is about, or it is for defining a vision for a world in which fantasy, love, kindness, decency and loyalty are bedrock values.”

On Wednesday at a shareholders meeting, Chapek said he had called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to express his “disappointment and concern” in the legislation and added that the company would donate $5 million to LGBTQ rights organizations.

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Chapek also praised the employees who advocated for Disney to take a stand, saying they “see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good,” in his message to staff on Friday.

He added, “Yes, we need to use our influence to promote that good by telling inclusive stories, but also by standing up for the rights of all.”

Chapek vowed that Disney would take a more active stand in the fight for LGBTQ rights and increase its “support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states.”

In addition, the company will stop its contributions to Florida politicians pending a review to overhaul its policies on political donations to “ensure our advocacy better reflects our values.”

“I truly believe we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ+ community,” Chapek said. “I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on — and I will be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility, and opportunity you deserve.”

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