The Run-Down: Disney took a long awaited stance against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, coming under fire from both proponents and opponents of the bill
- On March 28th, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity, which many opponents feel is targeted toward the LGBTQ+ community
- Disney faced major backlash for its silence on the bill
- Considering Disneyworld’s Florida location, many opponents of the bill believed with the power Disney holds in the state, they should have done more to address the issue
- Disney employees sent company leaders a letter requesting their support and even staged a walkout to protest the signing of the bill
Why You Should Care:
Disney is a prime example of a company that failed to use its authority to take a stance. As a society, we’ve come to expect large companies, and sometimes even smaller businesses, to take public stances on a variety of social issues. After failing to make public comments at the beginning, Disney pledged to donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign and other LGBTQ rights organizations, as a show of their disapproval of the bill.
However, the public damage was already done. Critics online called Disney out for prioritizing profits over people, acknowledging that the company claims to be a support of the LGBTQ+ community, and yet failed to acknowledge the harm this bill may cause.
As Todd C. Frankel says in the Washington Post article, “How Disney fell flat in fight over LGBTQ talk in Florida’s schools”, “Disney’s missteps illustrate just how much the political landscape has changed for companies.” This statement perfectly encapsulates the level of integrity expected out of organizations, especially those with as much notoriety as Disney.
You’re probably thinking, Disney is a massive, billion-dollar company- what does this have to do with me and my smaller business. But, I would argue, this situation is a microcosm, a case study even, of situations any business could face on a smaller scale. As forward-thinking industry leaders, even us small business owners have the duty to align with our values publicly. It has been seen time and time again that consumers want to support organizations they believe share the same principles. Putting integrity at the forefront of your business is the key to cultivating a community that consumers will respect, and further, want to support.