In response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signing Florida's anti-grooming bill into law, Walt Disney Company issued an official statement opposing the legislation, termed the Parental Rights in Education bill.
A spokesperson for Walt Disney Co. said in the company's official statement posted to social media Monday: "Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that."
"We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country," the Walt Disney Co. spokesperson added in the press statement.
The multinational children's entertainment conglomerate misleadingly called the "Parental Rights in Education" law the "Don't Say Gay" bill, a misnomer used by leftist critics and activists that mischaracterizes the measure's purpose. Walt Disney Co. said HB 1557 "should never have passed and should never have been signed into law."
Walt Disney Co. was lambasted by its progressive workers who have planned employee walkouts to protest the bill and outside LGBTQ activists who have pressured its CEO Bob Chapek to make the company's opposition public.
Chapek first declined to weigh in on the bill, arguing that "as we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds."
In the refusal to disavow the bill, Chapek said businesses jumping on the virtue-signaling bandwagon offer statements that are "often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame," which he argued can be "counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change."
Following backlash over the company's silence on the subject out of concern for the company becoming "a political football in any debate," Chapek buckled, declaring it was a mistake to not verbalize objection to the bill's passage.
Chapek's predecessor, Bob Iger, was vocal opponent of the bill, writing on Twitter back on Feb. 24 that it would "put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy."
Despite misconceptions about the bill expanding parental control in Florida's elementary schools at lower grade levels, the legislation does not ban casual LGBTQ-related conversations on school property. It does, however, restrict age-inappropriate classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" for students in kindergarten through third grade throughout the state.
The bill drew condemnation not just from one of Florida's largest employers. It also caught the attention of the White House and Hollywood elites, who mocked the bill during Sunday night's Oscars. President Joe Biden called the bill "hateful," while many Democrats have repeated the word "gay" in theatrical performances, although DeSantis never said a no gag order would be placed on the matter.
"Isn't Disney supposed to be a family friendly company? Why do they want to teach K-3 grade children about sex and gender theory and hide it from parents?" asked DeSantis spokeswoman Pushaw, replying to Disney on Twitter. Pushaw touched upon similar points the governor made at the signing event.
DeSantis fired back at the bill's opponents during Monday's signing ceremony.
"They don't want to admit that they support a lot of the things that we're providing protections against," DeSantis said, claiming the measure's critics "support sexualizing kids in kindergarten" and "support injecting woke gender ideology into second-grade classrooms." DeSantis aid "what they're doing with these slogans and these narratives is they are trying to camouflage their true intentions."
DeSantis was surrounded by school-aged children when he made the law official.
"I don't care what corporate media outlets say. I don't care what Hollywood says. I don't care what big corporations say. Here I stand. I'm not backing down," he said.
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