Disney CEO to meet with DeSantis after backlash against company’s response to “Don’t Say Gay” bill

Mickey Mouse icon with gay rainbow flag design at the annual gay pride march in central London
Photo: Shutterstock

Amidst massive outcry against Disney’s refusal to speak out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, CEO Bob Chapek announced today that the company will donate $5 million to LGBTQ rights organizations.

Chapek also said he will meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to discuss somehow preventing the bill from being weaponized against LGBTQ people.

Related: Disney declines to condemn Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill after donating to GOP backers

The bill would prevent teachers from mentioning LGBTQ people in elementary schools. It has already passed the state legislature and is headed to DeSantis’s desk. He is expected to sign it.

Disney has been in hot water ever since it was revealed that the company donated to the GOP sponsors of the bill and subsequently refused to take a public stance against it.

But at the annual shareholders meeting today, Chapek reportedly declared for the first time that Disney does not support the bill.

“The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss the ways to address them,” Chapek said at the meeting.

He added, “Gov. DeSantis committed to me that he wanted to make sure that this law could not be weaponized in any way by individuals in the state or groups in the state to unduly harm or target gay, lesbian, nonbinary or transgender kids and families.”

In an internal memo sent to Disney staff earlier this week, Chapek expressed solidarity with the LGBTQ community but said “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds” and that the best way to take a stand is through “the inspiring content we produce.”

Employees, however, have been urging the company to speak out under the hashtag #DisneySayGay.

Education Secretary reminds Florida governor that federal law trumps the “Don’t Say Gay” bill

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