Disney cast members across the country have walked off the job in protest over what they said was the company CEO’s lack of action over the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The bill would ban lessons on gender identity and sexual orientation for public school students in kindergarten through third grade, WFTV reported.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially didn’t speak out against the bill despite repeated calls by employees to do so.
Chapek did speak after Florida lawmakers passed the bill. He also apologized to cast members and announced that Disney would pause political donations in Florida while increasing support for groups fighting similar legislation in other states.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is expected to sign the bill and make it law, said the company bent to cancel culture, The Associated Press reported. Conservatives also said that the company should focus on profits, not pushing an agenda.
On Tuesday morning, the AP reported it was unclear how many employees would participate. Union leaders representing tens of thousands of unionized workers said they saw no momentum among the members for the protest. The union also advised members not to walk out because it would go against their contractual obligations.
However, some non-unionized divisions such as production, marketing and IT could participate, the AP reported.
The protests are expected to happen in Orlando, Anaheim, New York City and Burbank, California, the AP reported.
The company posted on Facebook, across various divisions, including Disney Parks and Disney+, saying, in part that “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” or similar messages.
“Yesterday we held a virtual company-wide conversation on anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and Disney’s response to it. We know how important this issue is for our LGBTQ+ employees, their families and allies, we respect our colleagues’ right to express their views, and we pledge our ongoing support of the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for equal rights.”
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