Disney condemned Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill being signed into law and said its goal is for the legislation to be “repealed” or “struck down in the courts”.
The legislation, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, will restrict “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”
LGBTQ+ activists are fearful that it could totally limit any discussions or lessons on identity, the community’s history and the oppression it has faced – prompting its ‘Don’t Say Gay’ nickname.
Should parents believe the measures listed in the law are being violated, they will have the ability to sue school districts.
The state’s governor Ron DeSantis signed it into law on 28 March in a staged ceremony which saw him surrounded by a group of children, some of which held signs saying “protect children, support parents”.
“It’s not something that’s appropriate for any place, but especially not in Florida,” he said during the press conference.
He added that students learning “they can be whatever they want to be” was “inappropriate” and an issue the legislation would resolve.
Disney swiftly released a statement opposing the governor’s decision to support the legislation.
Statement from The Walt Disney Company on signing of Florida legislation: pic.twitter.com/UVI7Ko3aKS
— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) March 28, 2022
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” it said. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organisations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”
Disney previously came under fire for its mixed response to the bill, as it initially opted to release a blanket statement of support for the LGBTQ+ community instead of condemning the legislation.
A report from Orlando Sentinel on 25 February also revealed that the company had donated money to every single sponsor and co-sponsor of the proposed legislation, prompting its CEO, Bob Chapek, to express “unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community” on 7 March.
Employees of the company from all over the United States staged walkouts and ran social media campaigns to protest this response on 22 March.
Don’t Say Gay bill that was just signed by @GovRonDeSantis is just another stain on FL history. The party of “less government” is becoming the party of authoritarianism & censorship.
To every LGBTQ child, parent, and ally – we see you, we love you, and the fight has just begun.
— Shevrin “Shev” Jones (@ShevrinJones) March 28, 2022