Disney employees have staged a walkout due to the company’s poor response to Florida's legislative branch passing a bill that forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in public schools from kindergarten through third grade.
Florida’s Parental Rights in Education act, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by those who oppose it, was introduced on March 8th, and was met with much backlash.
When Disney was called to denounce the bill, CEO Bob Chapek refused to publicly nay the bill, stating that “corporate statements do very little to change outcome or minds” and that the company’s words are “often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame”. It was also later revealed that the company had provided financial support for some of the bill’s backers in the state legislature.
Chapek later apologized for their silence, stating that they’re original approach was “working behind the scenes, engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
Disney also attempted to donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ rights organizations, but the HRC rejected their donation and suggested that the company take a more direct approach to combat the bill.
Chapek also shared plans to meet with the Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, along with unnamed LGBTQ+ members of the senior team in Florida to “discuss ways to address” the company’s disappointment and concern with the bill turning into a law.
Employees of the company found that this late statement was not enough to undo the damage of partially funding the backers who passed the bill, which is what lead to a Twitter account called Disney Walkout to be created. The walk out, which started on March 15th at 3 p.m., and is projected to last until March 21st, lasts 15 minutes each day. The account plans to have a “full-scale walkout” on Tuesday, March 22nd.
The "Disney Walkout" twitter account posted a letter, which noted that the walkout wasn’t organized by the company’s business employee resource groups or Disney PRIDE organizations. Since the walkout isn’t legally protected, anyone who participates in the walkout could be fired.
The letter has been signed by LGBTQ+ members across the Walt Disney Company.