Since Bob Chapek took over Disney in 2020, he hasn’t had a problem on his hands like he has now. The CEO is under fire for not doing enough to combat what’s been called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the GOP-backed legislation in Florida seen by critics as anti-LGBTQIA+. His attempts at mollifying revolting employees haven’t worked. But at least one wing of the company is coming out full force against the bill.
As per Variety, Marvel Studios, which was purchased by Walt Disney Studios in 2015, did what Chapek has not, issuing a blistering condemnation of the bill.
“We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community,” the statement read. “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.”
It stands in contrast to Chapek’s own actions against the bill. Inititally, he released an internal memo claiming the company’s “unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community,” but drawing the line at taking a public stance. That seemed to make employees more mad. Chapek subsequently announced he was pausing donations to politicians who voted for the bill, which passed both Florida’s House and Senate and is expected to be signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis.
The same day as Marvel’s statement, employees at Disney announced a week of walkouts, following by an even bigger protest. Many schools across the state have seen protests as well.
The bill, which bears the generic-sounding “Parental Rights in Education” bill, seeks to remove any discussion of “sexual orientation or gender identity” from younger public school classes. Critics worry that it will lead to further marginalization of already marginalized group. DeSantis, who was recently caught on video bullying students, has responded to pushback by yelling at journalists and deriding Disney as “woke,” forgetting nearly a century of often un-“woke” product.