Wednesday, March 09, 2022

Disney feeling the pressure as its CEO now denounces 'Don't Say Gay' bill (after it is approved by the Florida legislature)

Florida's LGBTQ community and their allies are winning the fight in spite of passage of the 'Don't Say Gay' bill.

UPDATE - Disney also pledged to donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign. HRC is saying no thank you until 'meaningful action' is taken against Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill.

It looks like anger of Disney's inaction about Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill has yielded some success. 

According to CNBC:

The Walt Disney Company is now publicly opposing Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. On Wednesday, CEO Bob Chapek addressed the company’s stance on the bill and acknowledged that its original approach “didn’t get the job done.” Chapek told shareholders that he will meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Disney will donate $5 million to organizations, including the Human Rights Campaign, that work to protect LGTBQ+ rights.

 . . . Disney has faced pressure for not opposing the bill publicly, particularly after it was determined that the company provided financial support for some of the bill’s backers in the state legislature.

Variety had this to say:

“The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss the ways to address them,” Chapek said during Disney’s shareholders meeting Wednesday, when he confirmed for the first time Disney’s opposition to the bill, which would limit discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools.

“Gov. DeSantis committed to me that he wanted to make sure that this law could not be weaponized in any way by individuals in the state or groups in the state to unduly harm or target gay, lesbian, nonbinary or transgender kids and families,” Chapek said, when asked by a shareholder during the Q&A what he expects to come up the meeting with DeSantis. DeSantis was “very open” to learning about how to prevent the law from being “weaponized” to target LGBTQ people in Florida, according to Chapek.

DeSantis' office had this to say:

Let's not bulls!t ourselves here. If DeSantis had truly cared about the bill targeting people, he would have taken steps about it long before Chapek called him. And if Chapek hadn't felt the pressure from Florida's LGBTQ community and their allies, Disney wouldn't have ever changed its position. 

Disney's shift demonstrates how Florida's LGBTQ community and its allies have been winning this fight. The passage of the 'Don't Say Gay' bill was assured from the beginning because Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state legislature. The real question was would the vote be easy or painful.  And those who opposed the bill have been very successful in making it as painful as possible by consistently arguing that the bill targets LGBTQ kids and families.

Supporters of the bill have yet to create an argument which proves this notion to be false. Some of have claimed that the bill doesn't target LGBTQ people because the words 'LGBTQ' or 'gay' isn't specifically in the bill. But then they undercut this argument by doing what DeSantis - and his spokesperson did - by specifically mentioning LGBTQ people or implying that those opposing the bill are 'pedophiles' and 'groomers.'

Disney's capitulation also proves that threats to the purse strings means more to some people than doing the right thing. But if that's what it takes to get things done, then I'm all for it. If we can't appeal to people's hearts to do us right, then we should aim at the pocketbooks. A backtrack and a promise of funding is nice, but it is by no means the end of it. Only a start. Disney is going to have do to more than that.

'LGBTQ authors of banned books speak out why their stories matter' & other Wed midday news briefs

LGBTQ authors of banned books speak out on why their stories matter​ - The across the board undermining of LGBTQ lives will be vigorously fought on all fronts.

South Dakota Ban on 'Divisive Concepts' in Education Heads to Governor - Another Republican exploiting fears about LGBTQ people for higher office.

Conversion therapy costs U.S. over $9 billion a year, study finds - Reframing of post from yesterday. Ca-ching.