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Things We Saw Today: Disney Employees Post Open Letter Against ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill

LGBTQ+ employees and allies have planned a week of virtual and IRL walk-outs to protest donations to anti-gay politicians.

Disney and CEO Bob Chapek are still experiencing some well deserved fallout from their inadequate response to Florida’s dehumanizing “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The company came under fire after it was revealed that they donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the writers and supporters of the virulently homophobic and transphobic legislation. In response, Disney’s LGBTQIA+ employees and allies have planned a week of walkouts, both virtual and in-person. The group also published a list of demands in an open letter to Chapek.

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The organizers wrote, “The recent statements by The Walt Disney Company (TWDC) leadership regarding the Florida legislature’s recent ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill have utterly failed to match the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA+ safety represented by this legislation, … Primarily, those statements have indicated that leadership still does not truly understand the impact this legislation is having not only on cast members in the state of Florida, but on all members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the company and beyond. While we certainly appreciate Bob Chapek’s apology note, there is still more work to be done.”

The demands include ceasing donations to politicians involved with the “Don’t Say gay” bill, as well as “publicly commit to an actionable plan that protects employees from hateful legislation.” This includes ceasing any construction or investments in Florida, and providing a network of support of LGBTQIA employees and their families. In addition, the group demands that Disney donate money to human rights advocacy groups like the Trevor Project and Trans Lifeline.

They continued, “As a community, we have been forced into an impossible and unsustainable position. We must now take action to convince TWDC to protect employees and their families in the face of such open and unapologetic bigotry.” You can find out more about the protests and letter at Whereischapek.com. We stand in solidarity with these employees and their mission.

(image: Disney)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.