Entertainment

Disney says it supports gay rights with “inspirational content,” though it donates to Don’t Say Gay bill supporters

Disney has issued a statement of support for the LGBTQ+ community, despite news that the company has donated sums of money to Florida Republicans who support Don’t Say Gay legislation.

Last year, at least three Disney entities gave the major sponsors of Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation a combined $4,000 (£3,021) for their 2022 reelection campaigns.

House Bill 1557, officially titled “Don’t Say Gay,” as critics call it, was condemned by Democrats, parents, and the White House, which called the legislation “hateful.”

If it becomes law, it will censor talk about homosexuality and gender identity in Florida classrooms.

In a statement released via Good morning AmericaThe Walt Disney Company stated, “We understand how important this issue is to our LGBTQ+ employees and many others.

“For nearly a century, Disney has been a unifying force, bringing people together. We are determined that it remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

The statement continued, “The greatest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world lies in the inspirational content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here, and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community.”

Current Disney CEO Bob Chapek has yet to make a personal statement beyond the Disney company’s official address.

With his on-screen alter ego, Olaf from Frozen.

(Photo agency Shutterstock/Featureflash)

The Senate sponsor of the Don’t Say Gay legislation, Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley, has previously sponsored other anti-gay legislation.

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In 2013, he compared gay parents to drug addicts and abusive parents.

Baxley said, “I mean, I sat with a teacher for an hour and a half and I said to myself, ‘Well, this kid has serial men coming through the house, this one has two mummies, this one has an abusive father that’s at home, that has alcoholism, this one has drug abuse.

“It was a sacrificial war event to hear – just her classroom – how many dysfunctional structures, uncharacteristic to me, stand in the way of a child having a chance to learn.”

Baxley’s 2022 campaign received US$1,000 (£756) from Disney Photo Imaging. In 2018, he received US$1,000 (£756) each from Disney Vacation Development Inc and Disney Destinations LLC.

(AP)

News of Disney’s donations has drawn widespread backlash.

Producer and filmmaker Abigail Disney — daughter of former Disney animation boss Roy E. Disney and grandniece of Walt Disney — condemned the company’s financial backing of the bill on Twitter.

“I couldn’t be more dissatisfied with their political activities, both in terms of who they fund and how they lobby,” Disney wrote. “I would strongly support legislation that requires all companies to disclose ALL their financing and lobbying activities.”

Author of Disney’s animated series duck stories Benjamin Siemon wrote that he was “deeply saddened” by the “company’s silence on speaking out against the Don’t Say Gay Act.”

The Independent has reached out to a Disney representative for comment.

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/disney-dont-say-gay-donations-b2028984.html Disney says it supports gay rights with “inspirational content,” though it donates to Don’t Say Gay bill supporters

Tom Vazquez

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