Disney CEO Bob Chapek Issues Statement on Support for the LGBTQ+ Community

In the wake of the passing of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, Disney has been retroactively taking a stance against the bill. Yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis spoke of not giving into the “musing of woke corporations.” Today, Disney CEO Bob Chapek issued an apology letter to employees of The Walt Disney Company.

What’s Happening:

  • Earlier this week at the 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, but many found his responses to be ill-timed and not strong enough.
  • In response to those concerns, as well as some mocking comments from Governor DeSantis, Chapek has doubled down on his support for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Chapek has pledged to increase the company’s support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states.
  • Disney is also hard at work creating a new framework for their political giving that will ensure their advocacy better reflects the company’s values.
  • Starting today, Disney has paused all political donations in the state of Florida, pending the aforementioned new framework.
  • The full statement reads as follows:

To my fellow colleagues, but especially our LGBTQ+ community,

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. 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.

Our employees see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good. I agree. Yes, we need to use our influence to promote that good by telling inclusive stories, but also by standing up for the rights of all.

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.

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.

  • The legislature, which passed this past Tuesday, 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.