Gabrielle Union has hit out at the Walt Disney Company over its decision to take a soft stance regarding the “Don’t Say Gay” bill banning Florida teachers in classes up to third grade from talking about LGBTQIA+ issues with their students.
The actress spoke about the situation while promoting the release of the studio’s Disney+ reimagining of “Cheaper by the Dozen”, in which she stars alongside Zach Braff.
Union told Variety at the premiere, “Somebody asked me, ‘Are you disappointed?’ I’m disappointed when my order isn’t right at In-N-Out. I don’t even think that’s a word that you could use for something like this, where children’s lives are literally hanging in the balance.
“We need to own that if you truly are taking stands against hate and oppression, you should not fund hate and oppression. Period. The damage is done.”
It was revealed Thursday that Disney staff members were staging walkouts this week and next, The Guardian reported. The controversial bill was recently passed by Florida Republicans but has not yet been signed into law.
The walkouts come after Disney and its CEO, Bob Chapek, spoke out against the bill last week in an internal staff email. However, he has not publicly comdemned it.
An Orlando Sentinel report also revealed that Disney had donated money to every sponsor and co-sponsor of the bill, according to Variety.
“There are so many states that are following suit [with Florida’s legislation], because there is no pushback, because no one in positions of power [or] corporations are taking a hard stance,” Union added.
“Let’s look who’s donating to what and let’s call people out… I think a lot of people like to confuse accountability and consequences for cancel culture. And as long as you have a microphone and a stage that’s not cancel culture, honey… We have to campaign and fund for those people who stand for all of us.”
Union said of Disney associates reaching out to Chapek, “I think a lot of people reached out to him. And if you have to see my child for that to be to be the difference maker, that’s not enough. There’s a lot of kids out there, not just famous ones.”
“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,” Chapek previously wrote in a letter to Disney employees.
“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 came amid complaints from Disney employees claiming that “gay affection” was routinely cut from Disney films.
Chapek 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.