Disney CEO Bob Chapek says company worked 'behind the scenes' to oppose Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill

click to enlarge Former Disney CEO Bob Iger (left) and new CEO Bob Chapek - Photo via Walt Disney Company
Photo via Walt Disney Company
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger (left) and new CEO Bob Chapek

During a recent shareholder meeting, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that his company worked "behind the scenes" to oppose Florida's recently passed "Don't Say Gay" bill.

The head of Disney addressed criticism of his company's response to the bill barring discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida public schools. Protesters called for a public response from the massive Florida employer and social media users lambasted a response they felt was lackluster. Chapek said he felt their ends were better served by working quietly with legislators to oppose the bill.

"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," he said. 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."

Chapek lamented that their strategy was unsuccessful, and noted that they will continue to push against the legislation.

"I called Governor DeSantis this morning to express our 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 said. "He agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address that."

Chapek announced that Disney was pledging $5 million to pro-LGBT initiatives, in addition to continued pressure on Tallahassee.

"I understand our original approach, no matter how well intentioned, didn’t quite get the job done. But we are committed to supporting the community going forward," he said.

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