Gabrielle Union on Why She Criticized Disney's Response to Anti-LGBTQ Bill: 'I Tell the Truth'

"There's enough other companies that are willing to hire me, knowing that I tell the truth and I will not be held back by fear," said Gabrielle Union

Gabrielle Union attends the premiere of Disney's "Cheaper By The Dozen" on March 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Gabrielle Union. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty

Gabrielle Union is standing her ground.

In the most recent episode of the Keep It! podcast, which aired Wednesday, the Cheaper by the Dozen actress said she "was very clear" in recently expressing her "thoughts about Disney funding hate and oppression," after the company's response to controversial LGBTQ-related legislation.

"They might murder off my character in Cheaper by the Dozen," said Union, 49. "The sequel [might be], 'Zoey has died in a tragic accident.' The reality is, I don't know — I will never know how my name is spoken of in rooms due to me telling the truth, right? I have no idea."

"Luckily, there's enough other companies willing to hire me, knowing that I tell the truth, and I will not be held back by fear [of taking] my career away," she added. "I'm Black in Hollywood. What does that even mean?"

Union initially told The Hollywood Reporter of the Cheaper By the Dozen script earlier this month, "I'm incredibly proud of this, especially right now, because we actually say gay."

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Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union. CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking directly about the legislation, she added to THR, "I don't want to say shock because hatred doesn't shock me at this point. I've been a Black woman in America since '72 — nothing shocks me. But the fear that gripped me because I know what this leads to."

"Every moment in history, there has been this moment. We know how this ends," Union continued. "We know where hate and oppression lead. And it can start now with the LGBTQIA community, but if you think that it's just a 'them problem,' oh baby, you're next."

On March 11, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek apologized to employees for the company's "silence" amid the passing of Florida's new legislation, which is denounced by critics as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, after employees organized and wrote letters about the company's handling.

The recently passed bill (HB 1557) prohibits discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in primary school classrooms. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appears poised to sign the bill.

Regarding Disney — which employs tens of thousands of people at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and has plans to relocate more employees to the state — and its lack of initial response to the bill, Union told Variety "disappointed" isn't the right word.

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"Somebody asked me, 'Are you disappointed?' I'm disappointed when my order isn't right at In-N-Out. I don't even think that's a word that you could use for something like this, where children's lives are literally hanging in the balance. We need to own that if you truly are taking stands against hate and oppression, you should not fund hate and oppression. Period," she said. "The damage is done."

The actress added, "There are so many states that are following suit because there is no pushback, because no one in positions of power [or] corporations are taking a hard stance. Let's look who's donating to what and let's call people out."

Chapek, 61, said in his message to Disney employees, "You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry." The executive added, "Starting immediately, [Disney is] increasing [its] support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states."

He also said that he reached out to DeSantis, 43, "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.

Disney has not responded to PEOPLE's request for comment.

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