Moments after Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida signed an anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bill into law on Monday, Disney released a statement condemning it and saying that its “goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down by the courts.” Disney employs roughly 80,000 people in the Orlando area.
Labeled by opponents as “Don’t Say Gay,” the law restricts classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity. It also gives parents an option to sue a school district if they think the policy has been violated.
This month, Disney was criticized by many of its employees for refusing to take a public stand against the legislation, leading to a series of moves from the company’s chief executive, Bob Chapek. Mr. Chapek broke the company’s silence and stated Disney’s opposition; apologized repeatedly; paused political giving in Florida pending a review; and created a task force to develop an action plan for Disney to be a more positive force for the L.G.B.T.Q. community, including through its content for families. He is going on a listening tour at Disney workplaces, both domestically and overseas, this week.
On March 9, Mr. Chapek told shareholders at Disney’s annual meeting that he had called Mr. DeSantis to “express our disappointment and concern” about the bill. “The governor heard our concerns, and agreed to meet with me and L.G.B.T.Q.+ members of our senior team in Florida as a way to address them,” he said.
Mr. DeSantis responded with defiance, promptly deriding the company as “Woke Disney” in a fund-raising email to supporters. On Monday, as he signed the bill, Mr. DeSantis said: “I don’t care what Hollywood says. I don’t care what big corporations say. Here I stand. I’m not backing down.”
The hosts of the Academy Awards on Sunday made fun of the legislation during their opening stand-up routine.
In its statement on Monday, Disney added that it was committed to the national and state organizations working to overturn the law. “We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of L.G.B.T.Q.+ members of the Disney family,” the company said, “as well as the L.G.B.T.Q.+ community in Florida and across the country.”