News Tech: The Parental Rights in Education Act, often known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, was sponsored by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this year, sparking controversy over The Walt Disney Company. After public records revealed that The Walt Disney Company had donated to every legislator who sponsored the bill, fans and cast members organised rallies around the nation.
One day after the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was approved and put into law, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to let him know that Disney does not support it. After contributing $4.8 million to Florida campaign funds in 2020, Disney pledged to stop making political contributions in Florida as a result of the divisive bill.
On March 3, Disney issued a statement, but it made no specific mention of the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation that would subsequently become law. Fans once more urged Disney CEO Bob Chapek to oppose the anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, while employees at Pixar sent a letter to The Walt Disney Firm urging the company to do the same.
Disney was apparently advised by DeSantis to avoid the “Don’t Say Gay” scandal. When he proposed legislation to abolish Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District, he delivered on his promises. Walt Disney World Resort won’t have jurisdiction over its own municipal services starting in the following year thanks to the bill’s subsequent passage.
Gay Days is an unofficial fan meetup at Walt Disney World Resort and have been going on since the 1990s. Beth says the only downside of the event was “evangelical Christian” protestors “screaming totally hateful things” outside the Disney Parks:
“They also successfully petitioned for Disney to put a sign out warning families that there was going to be gay people in the Park, I guess being openly gay. I don’t know what these homophobic families thought that they think their kid was going to see gay people and magically become gay or want to be gay. That’s not how it works. You’re born the way you’re born. In fact, allowing kids to see gay couples and know that it’s very normal, love is very normal, is the best thing you can do for your children, so they don’t grow up to be homophobic idiots.” A 2000 article from The Ledger confirms Beth’s story. Though it doesn’t name a specific year, the report notes that Disney posted a sign warning Guests of “a gathering of homosexuals in the Magic Kingdom.” As recent as 2013, a right-wing action group flew a banner over Walt Disney World Resort warning Guests about “Gay Days.”
In the comments, LGBTQIA+ Disney fans and allies agreed with Beth. “We are moving forward with the trip-and we had a thoughtful conversation about how Florida treats their citizens,” @userallitok said after watching Beth’s video. Previously, the same fan wrote, “I just told my kid we could go to Walt Disney World and I think I have to cancel. I cannot support this state.”
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