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Tipsheet

Disney CEO Says First Statement Over Fake 'Don't Say Gay' Bill Controversy Missed the Mark

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during an annual shareholders meeting that he agreed he should have taken a harder stance against the Parental Rights in Education bill, known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, that passed the Florida Senate this week.

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Critics of the bill take issue with a provision that prevents teachers instructing about any type of sexual orientation or gender identity with any students in kindergarten through third grade. They wrongly claim it singles out the LGBT community, calling it the "Don't Say Gay" bill despite "gay" not appearing once in the bill.

"I understand our original approach, no matter how well intended, didn't quite get the job done," he said regarding how his first statement fell short, according to CNN.

Chapek said he called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to express his "disappointment and concern." Chapek said if the legislation becomes law it "could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families."

"The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address them," he added.

"While we have been strong supporters of the community for decades, I understand that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill," Chapek continued. "We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle."

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"This is the first time we have heard from Disney regarding HB 1557. The governor did take the call from Mr. Chapek. The governor’s position has not changed. No in-person meeting has been scheduled yet," said Christina Pushaw, DeSantis' press secretary, in a statement.

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