Walt Disney is ceasing all political donations in the state of Florida as the company reviews its advocacy policies, Chief Executive Bob Chapek told staff on Friday.
In addition to the pause on Florida political contributions, Chapek also wrote that the company would “immediately” be “increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states.”
State lawmakers in Georgia recently introduced a bill modeled after Florida’s, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In an email to Disney employees, Chapek apologized for not speaking out sooner and more forcefully on Florida legislation restricting classroom instruction of sexual identity and gender identity.
“Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was,” Chapek said in the memo. “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
The apology comes as Disney was criticized over its public response to the Florida legislation, which critics, labeling it a “Don’t Say Gay” law, have called an attack on LGBTQ children and teachers.
Employees and other people associated with Disney blasted the company this week for not aggressively condemning the legislation earlier. Some demanded that Disney stop contributing donations to politicians who supported the bill.
Governor DeSantis hit out at Disney’s stance over the bill. “You have companies, like a Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights and criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten and first grade classrooms,” DeSantis said.
“If that’s the hill that they are going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: UPI.COM