(Orlando) Disney employees are staging coordinated actions during their daily breaks through next Monday to protest CEO Bob Chapek’s slow response to a Florida bill aimed at to prohibit teachers from talking about sexual orientation or gender identity to pupils of a certain age.
The protests will culminate next Tuesday with a general walkout by LGBTQ workers and their supporters at Disney workplaces in California, Florida and elsewhere, the Disney employee group said on its website this week.
Organizers have asked Disney employees to register online with their plans to take part in next week’s full-scale strike. “We need to make sure we have enough numbers to be successful,” they said.
Statements by Disney executives on the bill being dubbed a “Don’t Say Gay” proposal have utterly failed to match “the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA safety posed by this legislation,” the group said.
Bill bans K-3 instruction on ‘sexual orientation or gender identity’and year. Republican lawmakers who pushed the bill had argued that parents, not teachers, should be the ones talking to their children about gender issues in their early school years. The legislation has caught the attention of President Joe Biden, who called it “hateful,” as well as other Democrats who argue it demonizes LGBTQ people.
The legislation has been sent to Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign it.
As the state’s largest private sector employer — Walt Disney World outside of Orlando had more than 75,000 workers before the coronavirus pandemic — Disney has contributed huge sums of money to political parties and politicians of Florida and wielded incredible influence over the state government.
Early last week, Mr. Chapek sent a message to Disney employees affirming the company’s support for LGBTQ rights, but also saying that corporate statements often do little to change minds and can be used as “ammunition” on both sides.
Rather than make an early public statement against the legislation, company officials had been working behind the scenes with Florida lawmakers “to get a better outcome,” but the talks were inconclusive, despite “our relationship with these lawmakers,” Mr. Chapek told Disney shareholders a few days later.
His public responses coming under fire from some Disney employees and supporters, Mr. Chapek apologized last Friday and said the company was suspending all political donations in Florida.
“I truly believe that we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ community,” Mr. Chapek said in a message to Disney employees. I fell short in this case, but I’m an ally you can count on – and I’ll be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility, and opportunities you deserve. »
Disney did not respond to an email request on Wednesday whether actions during breaks impacted business this week.