Disney employees walkout over Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill
A group of staff from the Walt Disney Company have begun their walkout protests in response to CEO Bob Chapek’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill.
The Disney CEO was called out during a shareholder’s meeting for failing to denounce the bill, donating to politicians who supported the bill, and for Disney’s lack of representation for the LGBTQIA+ community in their media. Since the backlash, Chapek has apologized for falling short of denouncing the bill, and has promised to pause political donations in Florida. However, a group of LGBTQIA+ staff and allies believe these measures are insufficient, and are now taking action to make that point clear to Disney’s leadership team.
Disney staff have begun their “Disney Do Better” protest and are taking action against The Walt Disney Company through walkoffs. Their first walkout happened this afternoon (Tuesday, March 15) at 3 PM, and lasted for 15 minutes.
An open letter was published on Whereischapek.com, which states that there will be multiple direct virtual and in-person protests against the Walt Disney Company leadership team.
The recent statements by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) leadership regarding the Florida legislature’s recent “Don’t Say Gay” bill have utterly failed to match the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA+ safety represented by this legislation. Primarily, those statements have indicated that leadership still does not truly understand the impact this legislation is having not only on Cast Members in the state of Florida, but on all members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the company and beyond…
Cast Members’ identities are not “political issues,” our safety and well-being is crucial to the success of this company, no cast member or their families should be forced to live in fear, and it is unacceptable to use the profits of our labor to take our human rights away.
Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill makes it illegal for educators teaching kindergarten to Grade 3 to discuss LGBTQIA+ related topics with their students. The bill has been criticized as unconstitutionally vague, as it barely dictates which topics are age-appropriate, or what defines as ‘classroom instruction’.
Staff protestors have published a list of demands onto their website to “regain the trust of the LGBTQIA+ community and employees.”
A temporary pause is not enough – we require a commitment. TWDC must immediately and indefinitely cease all campaign donations to these politicians involved in the creation or passage of the “don’t say gay” bill…
TWDC must publicly commit to an actionable plan that protects employees from hateful legislation including:
TWDC must reaffirm the company’s commitment to protecting and advocating for its LGBTQIA+ staff, even in the face of political risk.
TWDC must take responsibility for their inaction to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ children and their families by making substantial contributions to The Trevor Project and other human rights advocacy groups in an effort to regain our trust in the company’s inclusion and equality efforts.
TWDC should allocate content spending and outline how it will expand its content catalog to represent the LGBTQIA+ as well as transparent reporting on methods of community inclusion in content creation and inception.
TWDC pledges to create an LGBTQIA+ brand similar to that of “The Onyx Collective” focusing on LGBTQ+ creators and underrepresented voices.
The next walkout is scheduled for the same time tomorrow, Wednesday March 16, at 3 PM. A full staff walkout has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 22, 2022, from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM.