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Pic of the Week: The Disney walkout took the mouse out of his house & into the streets

Pic of the Week: The Disney walkout took the mouse out of his house & into the streets
Burbank, CA - March 22: LGBTQ employees Carlos Lopez Estrada , left, and Juan Pablo Reyes holding a Mickey Mouse in rainbow colors, walkout of Disney Animation protesting CEO Bob Chapek's handling of the staff controversy over Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, aka the "Parental Rights in Education" bill, on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 in Burbank, CA. Photo: (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

On Tuesday, Disney employees across the country participated in a walkout to protest the company’s lackluster response to Florida’s discriminatory “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Others, including some Disney-affiliated celebrities, expressed their support on Twitter.

The controversy began when it was revealed that Disney had donated money to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill’s main sponsors. In addition, Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially refused to publicly condemn the measure. He wrote that “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds” and “are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame.” Instead, he highlighted the company’s commitment to telling diverse stories.

Related: DeSantis’s press secretary says anyone who opposes Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill is a pedophile

Chapek then said he would meet Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to discuss somehow preventing the bill from being weaponized against LGBTQ people. In response, DeSantis said that he refused to bow down to “woke corporations” and released a video accusing LGBTQ people of trying to “inject transgenderism into kindergarten.”

Trying to do damage control, Disney said it would donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and other LGBTQ rights organizations. HRC rejected its donation and said Disney needed to take more direct action to combat the bill.

Soon after, employees at Pixar claimed that Disney censors LGBTQ content and that executives had cut every attempt to show same-sex affection or LGBTQ characters – including a kiss between two same-sex characters in the upcoming Toy Story prequel, Lightyear. Executives have since announced the smooch will be restored before the film is released.

Chapek eventually apologized to employees for not denouncing the bill, and has since taken a stronger stance against it. But for many, it’s simply too late.

Including the company’s LGBTQ employees.

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