A report claims that only one Disney employee based in Florida participated in the planned walk out over the state’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which has been described as an anti-grooming bill by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary Christina Pushaw.
This report comes from Katie Rice at the Orlando Sentinel, who claims “In Orlando, an apparent lone protestor held a sign outside an entrance to Walt Disney World, wearing a rainbow mask and waving a sign that reads, ‘Trans rights are human rights.'”
This report appeared to be corroborated by reporter Derek Lowe of WPTV. He wrote on Twitter, “One protester has now made their way outside Walt Disney World Resort.”
He then shared images of the employee identified as Nicholas Maldonado by the Orlando Sentinel.
Speaking to the Orlando Sentinel, Maldonado, who works at the Emporium shop in the Magic Kingdom explained why he participated in the walk out, ““Hopefully, down the road I can say that I’m proud to be an out LGBTQ cast member for the Walt Disney Company, and I will continue to work and make the magic that I was hired to do.”
He added, “But at this point, the company needs to do better. They have a long ways to go towards gaining our trust back.”
The walkout, which appears to have failed spectacularly in Florida, was organized by a group calling themselves Disney Do Better Walkout.
The group is demanding Disney “immediately and indefinitely cease all campaign donations” to politicians involved in the creation or passage of the anti-grooming bill.
That list includes: Ron DeSantis, Ben Albritton, Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Jim Boyd, Jason Brodeur, Doug Broxson, Danny Burgess, Manny Diaz, George Gainer, Ileana Garcia, Joe Gruters, Gayle Harrell, Ed Hooper, Travis Hutson, Debbie Mayfield, Kathleen Passidomo, Keith Perry, Ray Rodrigues, Ana Rodriguez, Kelli Stargel, and Wilton Simpson.
On top of this they demanded “an actionable plan that protects from hateful legislation.”
As part of this demand they want Disney to stop “construction and investment in the state of Florida until hateful legislation is repealed.”
They also want the company to stop “any efforts to move employees to Florida office locations, ensuring employee safety and employment retention.” The employees also demand that no employee should be terminated if they deny relocation to Florida.
Concluding this demand, they want “Disney to create an employee resource group specializing in helping LGBTQ+ families navigate the state’s political and educational climate, and partner with other local groups for additional employee resources.”
Their third demand is a reaffirmation of “company’s commitment to protecting and advocating for its LGBTQIA+ staff, even in the face of political risk. This must include full transparency into political and organizational contributions – full accountability is not negotiable.”
Next, the employees want Disney to “take responsibility for their inaction to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ children and their families by making substantial contributions to The Trevor Project, Trans Life, and other human rights advocacy groups in an effort to regain our trust in the company’s inclusion and equality efforts.”
Their fifth demand is for Disney to “allocate content spending and outline how it will expand its content catalog to represent the LGBTQIA+ as well as transparent reporting on methods of community inclusion in content creation and inception.”
Finally, their last demand is a pledge “to create an LGBTQIA+ brand similar to that of “The Onyx Collective” focusing on LGBTQ+ creators and underrepresented voices.”
On top of these demands they also shared a number of quotes from employees explaining why they were participating in the walkout or why they were supporting it.
One wrote, “The kiss was reinstated in Buzz? Having LGBTQIA+ content shouldn’t be a breaking news headline. It should be normalized. You don’t see Variety excited over a man a woman kissing in a film.”
While the walkout appeared to be a complete and utter failure in Florida, the state where the legislation has been passed in both the house and the senate and awaits Governor Ron DeSantis’ signature, it did see more participation in California.
The group’s Twitter shared photos from employees at Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Disneyland, and Pixar participating in the walkout.
The group tweeted, “What a day so far! Thank you all so much for the resounding support. It means the world to us. Lots still coming in, but a special shout out right now to Pixar for this amazing pic of solidarity.”
For Disneyland they tweeted, “Disneyland employees staged their walkout safely off campus today. They joined in on writing letters of affirmation to the LGBTQIA+ children and families in FL effected by the bill. Solidarity!”
Next, they tweeted, “Walt Disney Animation Studios walkout today! They couldn’t ‘let it go’!”
And then they shared a photo of Lucasfilm employees writing, “Lucasfilm walkout! Time to watch The Last Jedi again, because this is a movement of leaders. Anyone can be powerful. No one owns the (labor) force besides ourselves.”
What do you make of this report claiming only one individual participated in the walkout in Florida?