Chapek to Meet with Florida Governor DeSantis to Discuss “Don’t Say Gay” Bill, Disney Pledges $5 Million to Human Rights Campaign

During today’s annual Shareholders meeting, Disney CEO Bob Chapek addressed some of the concerns surrounding Disney and the State of Florida’s recently passed “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

What’s Happening:

  • The legislature, which passed yesterday, is officially titled the Parental Rights in Education bill. The new law limits when and how teachers and school staff can discuss gender and sexual orientation in the classroom.
  • While many, including President Joe Biden, have come forward condemning the nature of the bill, many were surprised that the Walt Disney Company remained quiet on the matter, especially when they have such a large influence in the state.
  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek released an internal memo on the subject this past Monday, with Chapek declining to denounce the bill. Instead, he pointed to the company’s diversity efforts and film representation.
  • However, the CEO had a lot more to say about the matter at the annual meeting of Shareholders this morning, explaining that Disney initially attempted to put pressure on legislators behind the scenes.
  • With those efforts seemingly failing, Chapek stated that he has been in conversation with Governor Ron DeSantis to express his concerns about the law.
  • Additionally, Chapek said he will be meeting with Governor DeSantis alongside LGBTQ+ cast members.
  • During the meeting, Chapek said, “The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss the ways to address them.”
  • He continued, “Govenor DeSantis committed to me that he wanted to make sure that this law could not be weaponized in any way by individuals in the state or groups int he state to unduly harm or target gay, lesbian, nonbinary or transgender kids and families.”
  • Chapek said he understands that Disney's original approach, “despite good intentions,” did not get the job done.
  • Following the backlash, Disney pledged to donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations protecting LGBTQ rights.