The Walt Disney Company has finally responded to calls for action against Florida’s passage of a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would limit what classrooms can teach about sexual orientation and gender. The bill has passed the Florida House of Representatives and has sparked outrage, as protests took place on Thursday on both coasts calling on Disney to share its views on the bill.
However, Disney’s statement sidesteps taking a stance while calling itself a “unifying force” in the world. “We understand how important this issue is to our LGBTQ+ employees and many others,” the statement begins. “For nearly a century, Disney has been a unifying force that brings people together. We are determined that it remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”
As the statement continues, Disney claims its “inspiring content” is action enough. “The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community.”
The statement comes on the heels of protests held by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Thursday in Florida and in California, with the goal of getting Disney to speak up. The protests were successful, but few found solace in Disney’s non-confrontational statement.
The bill, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, not only outlaws the teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten through Grade 3 “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” but also allows parents to sue schools and/or teachers that engage in these topics.
The bill is currently on the agenda for the Florida Senate, and if it passes there it would land on Governor Ron DeSantis’ desk.