The CEO of Walt Disney is addressing the company’s “painful silence” on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which is due to become law in Florida.

“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,” wrote Bob Chapek in a letter to Disney employees. 

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“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.”

He added, “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”

The letter comes amid complaints from Disney employees who have claimed that “gay affection” is routinely cut from Disney films.

Chapek also pledged $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) LGBT advocacy group; however, HRC turned down the donation and called on Disney to instead take “meaningful action” against the bill.

The “Don’t Say Gay” bill bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity from younger school children in Florida.

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Critics warn that the bill will isolate LGBTQ youth, while the White House has branded it “hateful legislation targeting vulnerable students.”