Disney CEO Bob Chapek sent out a company-wide email following a meeting he had with Disney LGBTQ+ leaders following criticism the company received from activists and allegedly employees over a pending Florida legislation that prohibits schools from teaching about gender identity through the third grade.
As previously reported, Disney faced criticism from activists over the fact they had not publicly condemned Florida bill HB 1557: Parental Rights in Education.
According to The Florida Senate’s website the bill “requires district school boards to adopt procedures that comport with certain provisions of law for notifying student’s parent of specified information; requires such procedures to reinforce fundamental right of parents to make decisions regarding upbringing & control of their children; prohibits school district from adopting procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying parent about specified information or that encourage student to withhold from parent such information.”
The bill also “prohibits school district personnel from discouraging or prohibiting parental notification & involvement in critical decisions affecting student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being; prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services; authorizes parent to bring action against school district to obtain declaratory judgment; provides for additional award of injunctive relief, damages, & reasonable attorney fees & court costs to certain parents.”
The bill specifically states, “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.”
In response to the bill, Disney initially released a statement that reads, “We understand how important this issue is to our LGBTQ+ employees and many others. For nearly a century, Disney has been a unifying force that brings people together.”
“We are determined that it remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring we content produce, the welcoming culture we create here and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community,” the statement concludes.
Now, the company’s CEO Bob Chapek sent a company-wide email obtained by Blog Mickey.
In the email, Chapek begins by discussing Ukraine before moving on to the point of the email, which is his discussion with Disney LGBTQ+ leaders and the Florida bill.
He begins the main point of the email writing, “On Friday, I met with a small group of Disney LGBTQ+ leaders to discuss controversial legislation pending in Florida that would impact their communities. I want to thank them for a meaningful, illuminating, and at times deeply moving conversation.”
“I told the group I would write to the entire company with my thoughts on the issues we discussed. I wish every one of our employees could have heard not just the passionate voices in the room, but the bravery, honesty, and pride those voices expressed. It is a conversation I will not forget,” he stated.
From there Chapek wrote, “One common theme was disappointment that the company has not issued a public statement condemning the legislation. That disappointment was compounded by the fact that, while not perfect, our company has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community-and in fact, has played an important role in the personal journeys of so many of our employees.”
He then declared, “I want to be crystal clear: I and the entire leadership team unequivocally stand in support of our LGBTQ+ employees, their families, and their communities.”
“And, we are committed to creating a more inclusive company-and world. I understand that the very need to reiterate that commitment means we still have more work to do,” he added.
He then proceeded to explain why the company has not issued a statement in regards to the bill, “I also believe you deserve an explanation for why we have not issued a statement. We are going to have a more fulsome conversation about this at the company- wide Reimagine Tomorrow Summit in April, but I will preview that discussion now as it is so timely.”
“As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” he explained. “Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change.”
He then asserted, “I do not want anyone to mistake a lack of a statement for a lack of support. We all share the same goal of a more tolerant, respectful world. Where we may differ is in the tactics to get there.”
Chapek then explained his tactics to get there, “And because this struggle is much bigger than any one bill in any one state, I believe the best way for our company to bring about lasting change is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create, and the diverse community organizations we support.”
He specifically notes that he will be using Disney content to propagandize this vision to the world, “There’s a reason content is at the top of this list. For nearly a century, our company’s stories have opened minds, inspired dreams, shown the world both as it is and how we wish it could be, and now more than ever before, represent the incredible diversity of our society.”
“We are telling important stories, raising voices, and I believe, changing hearts and minds,” he added.
Encanto, Black Panther, Pose, Reservation Dogs, Coco, Soul, Modern Family, Shang-Chi, Summer of Soul, Love, Victor. These and all of our diverse stories are our corporate statements and they are more powerful than any tweet or lobbying effort,” he declared.
Completely lacking any kind of self-awareness, Chapek then stated, “I firmly believe that our ability to tell such stories-and have them received with open eyes, ears, and hearts -would be diminished if our company were to become a political football in any debate.”
Still lacking any self-awareness he claimed, “Powerful content that changes hearts and minds only springs from inclusive cultures, which not only attract and retain the best and most diverse talent, but also give those employees the freedom to bring forth ideas that reflect their lives and experiences. We must work together to ensure Disney always remains such a place.”
Next, Chapek touted the company’s dedication the LGBTQ+ message writing, “In terms of our communities, we are and will continue to be a leader in supporting organizations that champion diversity. In 2021, we provided nearly $3 million to support the work of LGBTQ+ organizations.”
“And, we have a long history of supporting important events like Pride parades, and for being there in times of need, just as we were following the Pulse shooting in Orlando,” he continued.
“All this is why we have earned a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign for 16 years in a row,” he touted.
As he began to conclude his email, he addressed the company’s political contributions to various politicians, “Finally, I want to address concerns about our political contributions in Florida. While we have not given money to any politician based on this issue, we have contributed to both Republican and Democrat legislators who have subsequently taken positions on both sides of the legislation.”
“I can also share that Geoff Morrell, our new Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, will be reassessing our advocacy strategies around the world -including political giving -as he begins to integrate the communications, public policy, government relations and SR teams,” he noted.
Finally, Chapek declared, “Our company has been a force for inclusion for a long time- and that will not change on my watch.”
“We all have a role to play in this effort-from the Cast Members who make magical memories for fans and families of all kinds, to storytellers who take audiences on journeys to new storyworlds that illuminate our own, to everyone in between who is responsible for ensuring our culture lives up to our values,” he continued.
The Disney CEO concluded, “I hope we will all continue rowing in the direction of a better tomorrow.”
That “force for inclusion” reared its true face when Reimagine Tomorrow documents revealed the racism and discrimination Disney is attempting to indoctrinate their employees with.
In documents obtained by Christopher F. Rufo and published in May 2021, the company claimed that the United States of America is systemically racist.
One document reads, “The murders of Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Rayshard Brooks, Adame Traore, and countless others are part of a long history of systemic racism and transphobia.”
The documents also don’t even try to hide their racist intentions as they instruct “white and non-Black people” to “examine and work through feelings of guilt, shame and defensiveness to understand what is beneath them and what needs to be healed.”
In fact, the documents also instruct employees to “not question or debate Black colleagues’ lived experience.”
Instead “white and non-Black people” should “acknowledge and listen with empathy when Black colleagues share their lived experiences.”
One of the modules titled “What Can I Do About Racism” even implies that employees should reject equality in favor of equity.
It states, “Equality is a noble goal. Equal treatment and access to opportunities help each of us perform our best within a shared set of parameters. But we really need to be striving for equity, where we focus on the equality of the outcome, not the equality of the experience by taking individual needs and skills into account.”
If you are unfamiliar with this concept, it’s pushed by activist Ibram X Kendi who explained it in his How To Be An Antiracist book. He argues, “he defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity then it is racist.”
He further elaborates, “Someone reproducing inequity through permanently assisting an overrepresented racial growth into wealth and power is entirely different than someone challenging that inequity by temporarily assisting an underrepresented racial group into relative wealth and power until equity is reached.”
Clearly, Kendi is endorsing discrimination based on what one’s skin color is. And this is the theory that Disney is pushing on its employees.
And while Rufo would claim Disney scrapped this program, that’s clearly not the case as Chapek references a Reimagine Tomorrow Summit that will take place in April. On top of that, Disney publicly launched the campaign in September.
As storytellers at Disney, we have a responsibility to reflect our audiences in our content and experiences, so we’re more committed than ever to making that a reality. Explore more: https://t.co/gpiA6Phsr0 Let’s #ReimagineTomorrowTogether pic.twitter.com/R4pV4cnQK3
— Reimagine Tomorrow (@ReimagineTmrw) September 1, 2021
Chapek might claim he doesn’t want his company to be a political football, but his actions that he brags about in the email as well as the entire email aside from that statement clearly indicate that’s exactly what he’s doing with the company. Except he’s only playing for one team and has no intention of ever giving the other team the ball.
What do you make of Chapek’s declaration that the company is a “force for inclusion?”