Disney+, Marvel Studios, More Disney Companies Denounce Anti-LGBTQ Legislation amid Employee Walkout

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek recently apologized for the company's "silence" about Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill

Disney logo
Photo: Alexander Pohl/NurPhoto via Getty

Several studios owned by the Walt Disney Company are speaking out against anti-LGBTQ legislation as employees plan walkouts to protest the company's handling of a controversial Florida bill.

On Tuesday, Disney employees across the country will stage a voluntary walkout in response to CEO Bob Chapek's handling of Florida's recently passed bill (HB 1557) — dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill — which prohibits discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in primary school classrooms. Chapek has apologized for the company's "silence" after formal uproar from LGBTQ+ employees.

Disney employs tens of thousands of people at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and has plans to relocate more employees to the state.

Disney+, the company's streaming service, issued a statement Tuesday that "... We strongly denounce all legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of people in the LGBTQIA+ community — especially legislation that targets and harms young people and their families."

Another Disney-owned streamer, Hulu tweeted: "Today and every day, we Hulugans are united against all legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. We stand with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, storytellers, families, friends, and fans who are targeted by laws that marginalize and diminish their identities and lives. We remain committed to telling inclusive stories that unite us and celebrate the diverse LGBTQIA+ community."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Additionally, Marvel Studios tweeted, "We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community. Today, we pledge to continue our strong commitment as allies who promote the values of equality, acceptance and respect."

The official Disney Parks Instagram page wrote, "To ALL who come to this happy place, welcome. Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products is committed to creating experiences that support family values for every family, and will not stand for discrimination in any form. We oppose any legislation that infringes on basic human rights, and stand in solidarity and support our LGBTQIA+ Cast, Crew, and Imagineers and fans who make their voices heard today and every day."

ABC, FX Networks and National Geographic also shared similar messages.

Bob Chapek
Bob Chapek. Owen Hoffmann/Patrick McMullan via Getty

In his message to Disney employees earlier this month, obtained by Variety, Chapek said, "You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry."

"Starting immediately," he said, Disney is "increasing [its] 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," he continued. "And today, we are pausing all political donations in the state of Florida pending this review."

Chapek said he reached out to Gov. Ron DeSantis "to express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law it could be used to target LGBTQ kids and families," and that the governor has agreed to meet with him and LGBTQ members of Disney's senior team.

Related Articles