On Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek came out against a controversial bill in Florida that would increase parents’ rights over their children’s education, and would ban the teaching of sexually explicit materials at the youngest grade levels.
As reported by the Daily Caller, there has been an intense campaign by the mainstream media to get the head of Disney to speak out against H.B. 1557, which has been derogatorily and falsely referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Multiple headlines from major news outlets criticized Chapek for his silence, especially as Disney has begun more openly promoting homosexuality in its movies and television shows. Disney remains a major attraction in the state of Florida with its Disney World theme park, located just outside of Orlando.
“While we’ve been strong supporters of the community for decades, I know that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill,” Chapek said in his statement. “We were opposed to the bill from the outset, and we chose not to take a public position because we felt we could be more effective working behind the scenes directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.”
Chapek also claims that he spoke over the phone with Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) on Wednesday, and that DeSantis “heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and L.G.B.T.Q.+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss the ways to address them.”
The bill in question cracks down on the teaching of sexually explicit content to young children, including sexual orientation and “gender identity.” Such material would be forbidden in classrooms ranging from pre-kindergarten to the third grade; anything at the fourth grade level and above would have to remain “age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.”
The bill passed the Florida State Senate on Tuesday after having already been passed by the Florida House of Representatives. It currently awaits DeSantis’ signature to be passed into law.