Disney CEO to front annual meeting following ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill backlash
There are going to be fireworks at today’s Disney shareholder meeting. Though the company is on a hot streak of hits and Disney Plus is becoming a serious contender to Netflix, many are unhappy at Disney for their poor response to Florida’s homophobic ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
The legislation was approved by the Florida Senate yesterday and forbids teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity with students. The bill has been the subject of fierce debate, particularly as it gives parents the power to sue school districts over any perceived violations.
As an influential Florida employer, Disney has been petitioned to campaign against the bill in line with their public commitments to LGBTQ+ positivity, though their lackluster reaction has been widely criticized. Protestors have gathered outside Walt Disney World, with Deadline reporting that Abigail Disney has asked the company to take a position.
So far, CEO Bob Chapek has assured us that “a more fulsome conversation” is coming in April at a company-wide summit, which is hardly a fierce stand against hate. Meanwhile, Disney employees have been taking to social media to express their disgust with the bill and former Disney CEO Bob Iger has tweeted that the bill will put young LGBTQ+ people “in jeopardy”:
‘Don’t Say Gay’ is quickly turning into a PR nightmare for Chapek, who isn’t having the smoothest run as Disney CEO. Over his tenure, we’ve seen the high-profile dispute with Scarlett Johansson over Black Widow debuting on streaming, angry subscribers over the ‘Premier Access’ Disney Plus tiers, and claims that they endangered staff by re-opening their parks during the pandemic.
Today’s shareholder meeting will be conducted via video conference, with participants queuing to ask questions of the board. Expect some very pointed ones about ‘Don’t Say Gay’ and Disney’s feeble response.
The event will take place today at 1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT and you can watch it here.