TAMPA (WFLA) – After Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law on Monday, the Walt Disney Company condemned the legislation and vowed to help have it repealed.
“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. Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
Disney’s response comes just weeks after Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek apologized for the company’s “silence” regarding the bill.
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” Chapek wrote in an email to Disney employees.
Employees staged a walkout in protest of the company’s initial response.
“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,” Disney said in its statement Monday.
The legislation—which supporters call the “Parental Rights in Education” bill and opponents refer to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill—has drawn sharp criticism from LGBTQ+ advocates, students, Democrats, the White House and the entertainment industry.
It states: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
It adds that instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity “that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate” would be constrained in all grades.
President Joe Biden condemned HB 1577, calling it “hateful” and pledging his administration would work to protect rights for the LGBTQ+ community.