As The Walt Disney Company employees planned walkouts today over “the lack of compassion and advocacy” from the company in regard to its LGTBQIA+ workers and their rights, especially where Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill is concerned, Disney-owned Marvel Studios posted a statement to Twitter strongly denouncing “any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
Disney has close to 80,000 employees in Florida as it continues to move most of its Southern California-based jobs not fully dedicated to Disneyland in its Parks, Experiences and Products Division to a new regional facility in central Florida. That gives it economic and political clout.
Over the last week, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has been at the center of a firestorm that began over the company’s support for state legislators sponsoring the bill that effectively bans virtually all discussion or teaching about the LGBTQ+ community and “sexual orientation or gender identity” in the state’s public school system from kindergarten to the 3rd Grade. Chapek’s attempts at damage control have made the situation even worse.
Starting with his quickly-condemned March 7 memo denouncing “corporate statements” for doing “very little to change outcomes or minds,” and then trying to punt at the March 9 shareholders meeting, ex-theme park chief Chapek tried to reroute at the end of a long and painful week with an apology and pledge to take up the discriminatory legislation with the powers that be in the Sunshine State. “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down,” he bluntly told staffers in an internal email. But it was too little, too late, for some Disney employees.