Marvel Studios, the production company behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe, recently published a statement that appears to indicate their support for teaching gender and sexual identity to elementary school students.
Marvel Studios posted to Twitter an image that reads, “We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.”
It continued, “Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community.”
“Today, we pledge to continue our strong commitment as allies who promote the values of equality, acceptance and respect,” it concludes.
This statement comes after Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige revealed the Marvel Cinematic Universe would be introducing a transgender character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in December 2019.
When asked, “Are there any current plans on bringing more LGBT+ characters into the MCU specifically the T, trans characters,” Feige responded, “Yes, absolutely. Yes. And very soon. In a movie that we’re shooting right now. Yes.”
Back in July 2021, Feige also told Rotten Tomatoes, “Representation is important across the board. And the comics has charted…charts the path in almost all ways for what we do in the MCU and in the comics there are many LGBTQ characters and we want to showcase that on the screen as well. We want to bring those characters to life on the screen.”
“We also, as Stan Lee used to say, Marvel represents the world outside your window. And outside of our window, there are all different types of people in all different types of places with all different types of preferences and we want that reflect in the MCU and in our fictional world as it is in our real world,” he continued.
Feige then stated, “So it is of utmost importance that when people go in and see one of our films or log on to Disney+ and watch one of our series that it represents the true world outside their window when it comes to the types of people portraying the heroes and the characters.”
The statement appears to be in response to the recent controversy Disney, Marvel Studios’ parent company, found itself in when it initially decided to take a neutral stance on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, HB 1557.
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.”
As noted above, Disney and Disney CEO Bob Chapek originally attempted to remain neutral on the bill.
Disney initially released a statement that read, “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.
Then in a company-wide email, CEO Bob Chapek explained why he wanted the company to remain neutral on the bill.
He explained they didn’t take a position on the bill saying, “As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds. 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.”
Chapek also explained, “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.”
The CEO also 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.”
However, at Disney’s 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders Chapek revealed that the company had actually been opposing the bill from the get go.
He stated, “While we’ve been strong supporters of the community for decades, I know that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill. Now, 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.”
“And we were hopeful that our long-standing relationships with those lawmakers would enable us to achieve a better outcome, but despite weeks of effort we were ultimately unsuccessful,” he admitted.
Following these remarks, Chapek also issued another company-wide email where he promised to use the company to lobby for people opposing a ban on teaching gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade.
He wrote in the email, “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
“Our employees see the power of this great company as an opportunity to do good. I agree. Yes, we need to use our influence to promote that good by telling inclusive stories, but also by standing up for the rights of all,” he added.
“Starting immediately, we are increasing our support for advocacy groups to combat similar legislation in other states,” he declared. “We are hard at work creating a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values. And today, we are pausing all political donations in the state of Florida pending this review.”
What do you make of this latest statement by Marvel Studios?