After a public outcry over Disney’s handling of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Disney CEO Bob Chapek has sent out an internal email to the company, admitting he “missed the mark” and that further action is being taken.
“It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights,” Chapek elaborated in the internal companywide email, which was shared on Variety. “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
Now Disney has halted any political donations in Florida regardless of party and are working to combat legislation that threaten human rights at large.
Brave employees and creative giants who have worked at the Walt Disney Company have decried the silence and little-too-late actions mentioned in the shareholders’ call earlier in the week. A $5 million donation to the Human Rights Campaign was rejected until “meaningful action is taken,” according to the interim president of the HRC Joni Madison, as reported by Deadline.
In the letter shared by Variety, Chapek wrote:
To my fellow colleagues, but especially our LGBTQ+ community,
Thank you to all who have reached out to me sharing your pain, frustration and sadness over the company’s response to the Florida “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was. 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.
Our employees see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good. I agree. Yes, we need to use our influence to promote that good by telling inclusive stories, but also by standing up for the rights of all.
Starting immediately, we are increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states. We are hard at work creating a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values. And today, we are pausing all political donations in the state of Florida pending this review. But, I know there is so much more work to be done. I am committed to this work and to you all, and will continue to engage with the LGBTQ+ community so that I can become a better ally. You will hear more about our progress in the coming weeks.
I truly believe we are an infinitely better and stronger company because of our LGBTQ+ community. I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on—and I will be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility, and opportunity you deserve.
io9 has reached out to Disney for further comment about the email, but the company did not respond by time of publication. We’ll update this article when or if we hear back.
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