The Walt Disney Company has recently been involved in a political controversy concerning the recently passed Parental Rights in Education Act.
Although Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially did not comment on the Act, which is colloquially called the “Don’t Say Gay” Act, the company later issued a statement that the bill shouldn’t have been passed and declared their goal to have it “repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.” Now, some House Republicans have sent a letter to Chapek, condemning the Walt Disney Company’s response.
The Parental Rights in Education Act was signed into law in Florida in March, and it will take effect beginning July 1st, 2022. The text of the law says that “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.”
When the bill was signed into law, the Walt Disney Company issued an official statement, which said, “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 […] We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family.” This statement came amidst a series of protests by some Disney employees who were concerned about Disney’s lack of initial action against the bill.
Now, several Republican members of the House of Representatives have sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, requesting that he “reconsider [his] antagonistic comments.” According to Fox Business, 12 members of Congress signed the letter, which “raises concerns about Disney’s recent activism” against the Parental Rights in Education Act.
In the letter, the House Republicans stated, “While we recognize the importance of free speech, we are disappointed that you have chosen to use your voice and influence to actively work to repeal substantive protections for parents. You have stated that your company is ‘dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+’ individuals. We are disheartened that your desire to stand up for the rights of individuals does not extend to the rights of parents across this nation – only to those who are loudest and apply the most pressure to your company.”
The letter further states that Disney should reassess their current goals. The legislators said that, rather than working for the law to be repealed or struck down in courts, Disney’s goal should be “to make a profit, provide job opportunities for hard-working Americans, and offer quality products and services to your customers.”
The letter concluded with the following statement: “We condemn your outspoken attack on Florida’s common-sense protections for children and parents, and we worry your words will be weaponized and used to further divide and inflame our nation.”
Fox reports that “the letter was signed by GOP Reps. Bob Good of Virginia, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, Mary Miller of Illinois, Matt Rosendale of Montana, Andy Harris of Maryland, Byron Donalds of Florida, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Brian Babin of Texas, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, and Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina.”
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