A current Walt Disney Company employee, who is also running for Congress in Florida, recently spoke out regarding the state’s recently passed "Parental Rights in Education" bill, and how despite the legislation having a loud opposition among the corporate infrastructure at the entertainment company, a "silent majority" of Disney workers support the bill.
"There is immense pressure to toe the company line," Jose Castillo told Fox News. "However, the reality is that those drawing attention to this issue are in the minority. The Disney cast members who support the parental rights defended by HB 1557 far outnumber those who are protesting against it."
Castillo claimed that "Disney and similar corporations listen to the loudest voices in the crowd," despite a "silent majority" of employees disagreeing with Disney’s stance.
"That is why I am standing up for our shared conservative values; to show other conservative cast members like me that we need to speak up and stand strong," he said.
Earlier this month, LGBTQ employees at Disney held a protest against the bill, saying that there hasn't been sufficient enough condemnation.
The bill bans classroom instruction of sexual orientation and gender identity to children in kindergarten through third grade, "or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards."
Opponents have taken to calling it the "Don’t Say Gay" bill, despite the bill’s text containing no such phrasing or mission.
In a statement released on Monday, Disney condemned the bill’s signing.
"Florida's HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay' bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law," the statement, posted to Twitter, read. "Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that."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 statement concluded.
In response to Disney’s statement, Castillo said "I think that is a terrible miscalculation because it's clear that the democratic process produced this law. Floridians, including Disney employees, democratically elected Florida's state House representatives and state senators, and those elected officials passed this law; and then, thank God, Governor DeSantis signed it into law."
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis slammed the Disney for its statement against the bill, saying the state "is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state. They do not control this state."
"I think they crossed the line and you know, people ask me, you know, kind of about their posture on the bill. I said, you know, what, if we would have put in the bill, that you were not allowed to have curriculum, that discuss the oppression of the Uyghurs in China, Disney would have endorsed that in a second. And that's the hypocrisy of this. And, you know, we're gonna make sure we're fighting back when people are threatening our parents and threatening our kids," DeSantis later added.
Castillo said that Disney’s condemnation of the bill "has Disney straying far away from the values that made this company the household name all Americans know and love," and said that the company should return to its mission statement.
"The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world's premier ‘entertainment’ company," the statement reads.
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