Disney Employee Walkout Prompts Supportive Statements From Hulu, Disney+, FX, And More
The entertainment and media conglomerate's situation regarding the "Don't Say Gay" bill continues to deteriorate.
Disney's continued internal strife over management's lackluster response to Florida's just-passed Parental Rights in Education Bill--widely known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill--has inspired protest statements from Hulu, Disney+, FX, ESPN, and Walt Disney World. Deadline was first to report on what is apparently a coordinated effort to support the company's LGBTQIA+ employees and their efforts to denounce the bill.
The social media posts below also come as Disney employees staged a walkout Tuesday. These events, additionally, come on the heels of Disney CEO Bob Chapek announcing on March 21 that a planned management retreat has been postponed. According to Deadline, at a Disney town hall for all employees, Chapek reportedly expressed his regrets about the company's reluctance to take a public stance against the bill. Read the below to see how Chapek's leadership is being widely criticized by entities under Disney's umbrella.
ESPN believes in inclusivity and denounces legislation and actions across the United States that infringe on any human rights. We stand with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, friends, families, and fans.— ESPN (@espn) March 22, 2022
We stand with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, storytellers, families, friends, and fans who are targeted by laws that marginalize and diminish their identities and lives. We remain committed to telling inclusive stories that unite us and celebrate the diverse LGBTQIA+ community.— Hulu (@hulu) March 22, 2022
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In addition to the above, Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm have been publicly critical of Disney's handling of the situation regarding the controversial bill. Last week, Pixar reportedly restored the studio's first onscreen same-sex kiss in the upcoming Lightyear--which until that report was the subject of much internal debate, resulting in its previous removal.
Objectively, the situation at Disney can only be described as ongoing but rapidly deteriorating in the previous weeks. Chapek's initial hesitation to respond to the Florida bill--a state that is synonymous with Disney via the Walt Disney World resort and its theme parks--was seen by many as non-committal on both Disney and Chapek's part. The CEO eventually only apologized for the initial statement during a shareholder's call, and later issued a follow-up apology via an internal memo as well. However, as subsequent actions have indicated, many Disney employees feel it is too little too late--a group of Disney workers have planned multiple walkouts.
Speaking to USA Today, Orlando-area Disney employee Nicholas Maldonado said, "I want them to hear not just me, but many other LGBTQ cast members that are part of this company. I cannot be any more proud to be part of the community... I hope again I can be proud to be part of The Walt Disney Company."
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