Disney Now Says It Will Work to Help Repeal Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Law

After CEO Bob Chapek initially didn't condemn the anti-LGBTQ bill, employees walked out in protest.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
2 min read

Following backlash from employees, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told them, "You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry."

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

After more than a week of Disney employee walkouts in protest of the company's response to an anti-LGBTQ bill in Florida, Disney has said it will work to help repeal the law.

"The 'Don't Say Gay' bill should never have been passed and should never have been signed into law," the Walt Disney Company said in a statement Monday. "Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that."

The statement comes the same day Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the bill into law

Read more: Disney Workers Walk Out to Protest Company's Stance Toward Anti-Gay Bill

Employee backlash began when Disney leadership didn't immediately condemn the Florida bill, dubbed by opponents as the Don't Say Gay bill. The legislation bans or restricts "instruction" and "discussion" about sexual orientation and gender identity in state classrooms.

Instead of fully condemning the bill prior to it being passed by the Florida legislature, CEO Bob Chapek had said, "I believe the best way for our company to bring about lasting change is through the inspiring content we produce." However, a letter sent by Pixar employees to Disney leadership earlier this month reportedly said openly gay storylines and moments have been cut from Pixar films by Disney.

After backlash from within the company, Chapek wrote a letter to employees saying: "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."

According to Politico, Disney donated $50,000 to Gov. DeSantis. The news outlet said Disney also gave $913,000 to the Republican Party of Florida, $586,000 to Republican Senate campaigns and $313,000 to the Florida Democratic Party. Disney has since ceased political donations in Florida as it reviews the activity in the wake of employee protests.