ORLANDO, Fla. — Some disappointed Disney cast members are staging a full-day walkout on Tuesday in protest of what they call their CEO’s lack of action over a controversial Florida bill.
The “Parental Rights in Education” bill would ban instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade in public schools.
Critics call it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, is facing scrutiny for initially staying quiet about the bill as employees urged him to stand up.
He eventually spoke out, but after Florida lawmakers passed the bill.
Chapek apologized to cast members.
He announced that the company is pausing all political donations in Florida and increasing support for advocacy groups fighting similar legislation in other states.
Gov. Ron DeSantis called out Disney for being a “woke” company.
DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law.
It’s unclear how much momentum the walkout has and just how many Disney employees plan to take part.
Eyewitness News spoke to a man who said he was compelled to speak out.
“Right now, I am risking my job even by speaking,” said Nicholas Maldonado. “I am here standing because I want to be a proud cast member once again.”
Maldonado said he has worked with Disney since 2018. He said he’s disappointed with the company.
“I think the magic has been lost,” he said. “I really hope Disney hears us and Disney hears this message because we are not going to let up until we see real and lasting change.”
Disney released the following statement:
“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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