Graphic courtesy of the Walt Disney Company

Disney Pauses Florida Political Donations, CEO Apologizes Over Response

Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek issued a memo to the company’s LGBTQ+ and ally employees apologizing over his handling of the controversy over the media conglomerate’s response to Florida HB 1557, colloquially known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

The bill which cleared its final hurdle in the state legislature is currently awaiting Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature to become law. DeSantis has publicly indicated he will sign it.

“Thank you to all who have reached out to me sharing your pain, frustration and sadness over the company’s response to the Florida ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” Chapek wrote in his memo. “Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was. It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”

“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,” he added.

Disney’s Chief Executive Officer also informed the company’s employees, “Starting immediately, we are increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states. We are hard at work creating a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values. And today, we are pausing all political donations in the state of Florida pending this review. But, I know there is so much more work to be done. I am committed to this work and to you all, and will continue to engage with the LGBTQ+ community so that I can become a better ally. You will hear more about our progress in the coming weeks.“

Chapek ended his memo saying; “I truly believe we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ+ community. 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.“