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Gabrielle Union has blasted the Walt Disney Company’s soft stance regarding Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
The ‘Cheaper By the Dozen’ actress hit out at the studio – who are facing walkouts from staff in protest at their lack of response to the controversial bill, which bans teachers in classes up to third grade in the state from discussing LGBTQ+ issues with their students – and voiced her dismay following the news the company had donated money to every sponsor and co-sponsor of the legislation.
She told Variety: “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.”
And Gabrielle – whose stepdaughter, Zaya, is trans – warned the lack of public challenge to the bill in Florida will see other states follow suit.
She said: “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.
“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.”
Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek reportedly received a letter from LGBTQ+ employees at the firm requesting he publicly condemn the bill, and Gabrielle thinks he has had a “lot of people” voice their objection.
She said: “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.”
Bob previously wrote to Disney employees to apologise for letting them down, but has yet to publicly criticise the legislation, which was passed by the state’s House of Representatives on 24 February and the state Senate earlier this month.
He wrote: “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.”
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 executive pledged $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) LGBT advocacy group, but the organisation rejected the donation and called on Disney to take “meaningful action” against the bill instead.