Disney CEO Bob Chapek apologizes over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ flap: ‘I let you down’


Disney CEO Bob Chapek issued a uncommon mea culpa Friday, following two weeks of criticism over the company’s response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” invoice.

In full damage-control mode, Chapek mentioned by way of a memo to workers: “Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was,” he wrote. “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights.”

He continued: “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”

Chaepk has taken warmth from some in latest days over remaining silent over the invoice, which might ban Florida academics from discussing LGBTQ subjects like sexual orientation or gender id with college students till after third grade.

At Disney’s annual shareholder meeting Wednesday, Chapek mentioned Disney was against the invoice and had been combating it behind the scenes to no avail.

He mentioned the company would donate $5 million to organizations to the Human Rights Campaign, which work to guard LGTBQ+ rights, and that he would meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to debate his considerations.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek mentioned he “let down” LGBTQ staff with the company’s response to the invoice.
Roberto Machado Noa

Meanwhile, staff of Pixar, Disney’s animated studio, circulated an indignant letter, calling Chapek’s earlier claims that the company supported LGBTQ rights “hollow.”

They demanded that the Mouse House cease funding politicians who supported the Florida invoice, and accused the company of censoring LGBTQ storylines in Pixar flicks.

The Human Rights Campaign echoed Pixar workers on the political contributions situation and mentioned it wouldn’t settle for the donation, placing egg on Disney’s face.

Chapek mentioned Friday that Disney will stop all political donations because of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” invoice.
Chris Jackson

To make issues worse, Chapek’s boss, chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content Peter Rice, told The Hollywood Reporter after the shareholder meeting that “the law is a new and painful iteration of a history of discrimination against an already vulnerable group.”

“Personally, I see this law as a violation of fundamental human rights, and I condemn any attempt to marginalize individuals on the basis of their identity,” he continued. “I appreciate that Bob recognized that we must do more to support the LGBTQ+ community.”

As a part of Friday’s memo, Chapek mentioned Disney will stop all political donations in Florida because of the invoice. He added that the company is reviewing its strategy to advocacy.

“I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on — and I will be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility, and opportunity you deserve,” Chapek mentioned.

Disney has made range and inclusion an enormous a part of its company insurance policies and storytelling.
Qilai Shen

The leisure large has made range and inclusion an enormous a part of its company insurance policies, tradition and storytelling throughout theme parks, films and TV exhibits. But some have mentioned the company’s silence on the invoice was a press release of its personal.

“Our employees see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good,” Chapek mentioned. “I agree. Yes, we need to use our influence to promote that good by telling inclusive stories, but also by standing up for the rights of all.”

DeSantis doubled down on his help for the invoice Thursday. Speaking to supporters in Boca Raton, the governor mentioned there was a “zero” probability he was going to reverse his position on the invoice, in accordance with a video obtained by Fox News.

“You have companies, like at Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights, they’re going to criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten in first-grade classrooms,” he mentioned.

Ron DeSantis has pushed again in opposition to those that say the invoice is anti-LGBTQ+.
John Raoux/AP

“If that’s the hill they’re going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices that you see over there at the hands of the CCP,” he claimed.

“And so in Florida, our policies got to be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musing of woke corporations,” he added.

DeSantis’ feedback about Disney’s relationship with the Communist Party of China has been a standard criticism of the leisure large within the final week. Disney was certainly one of a number of studios to droop movie releases in Russia over the nation’s invasion of Ukraine, however has not made related strikes in China for the therapy of Uyghur Muslims within the Xinjiang province, who’re dealing with human rights abuses.

Two years in the past, Disney thanked authorities entities in Xinjiang within the credit for its dwell motion adaption of “Mulan,” which was partially filmed within the province.