Disney donates money to politicians; LGBT community senses hypocrisy

Liora Tolliver

   Florida has recently passed a controversial bill into law. The law, often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, bans mentions of LGBTQ+ topics in classroom instruction up to grade 3, and limits discussion from there until grade 12. 

      “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,” said Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, during a shareholder meeting. 

     Disney, the multi-billion-dollar entertainment company, has made efforts in the past few years to benefit the LGBTQ community. From donating money and publicly supporting movements, to putting gay characters in their shows and movies, Disney hasn’t been quiet about their support. But recently, as large companies often do, Disney fell into some controversy, according to the New York Post. 

    According to The Guardian, a few weeks ago it came out that Disney has donated money to politicians who publicly support the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Before this, Disney fans were already upset that Disney hadn’t publicly condemned the law. Though even more recently, after the news broke of Disney’s supposed support of the law, they’ve since pledged to help repeal that very law, according to CNBC. “The company has already vowed to donate $5 million to organizations that work to protect LGTBQ+ rights and has begun speaking to employees in town hall meetings about how it can better serve this community,” said CNBC. 

     Many people are torn on the law – some see it as a measure to protect children from inappropriate discussions, while others see it as a way to stifle children from expressing themselves. “I like Disney productions and stuff, but as a company their morals are flawed. I think they are going in the right direction by including more […] diversity,” said sophomore Mason Kirby.

       Some members of the LGBTQ community who oppose the bill have been feeling betrayed by the company which claimed to support them. Disney has long relied on LGBTQ individuals like Howard Ashman, a gay man who died of AIDS in 1991, who was one of Disney’s iconic lyricists, writing many songs for some of Disney’s hit movies like ‘The Little Mermaid,’ ‘Aladdin,’ and ‘Beauty and The Beast.’ 

     Some feel that Disney shouldn’t be using their money to support things that the people who gave them that money may not also support. “Disney is using money that was from the buying and supporting of pro-LGBT products to fund harmful ideologies that affect their consumers. They are scamming queer people,” said sophomore Caine Blosser. “I don’t believe it is right for a company to donate money to limit the rights of others. I believe people spend way too much time on things that aren’t any of the business,” junior Liam Armiger said. 

     Though other Disney fans don’t want the company’s choices to ruin the ‘magic.’ “I don’t wish to have an opinion on the Disney situation because it’s too controversial. I just like the parks and movies. I don’t want to focus on their politics because that often ends up ruining everything,” said senior Bella Silvestri. “It’s [Disney] such a huge part of my childhood I can’t not go.”