During a town hall meeting on Monday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that there would be a listening tour and a task force in response to concerns throughout Disney about the response to Florida’s legislation that would limit in-class discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity. The move comes after Disney initially did not take a stance on the bill before reversing itself. Chapek acknowledged that the lack of response was a mistake.
The move comes as company employees are staging walkouts to support LGBTQ+ staff, families, and communities.
The next step for the company is a global listening tour by executives. It will take the place of a leadership meeting that was scheduled to be in Orlando. Chapek and executives will be meeting and listening to employees both in the United States and internationally during this tour.
Disney also set up a new LGBTQ+ task force. It will be led by Paul Roeder, senior vice president of communications for the Studios, and Lisa Becket, senior vice president of global marketing for Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Disney said that the task force will seek out the help of experts and then create a concrete plan to ensure that Disney is a “force for good”LGBTQ+ communities.
These moves come after Disney paused political contributions in Florida in response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Disney affirmed that political donations will continue to be put on hold. The company also said it will oppose Texas Governor Greg Abbot’s executive order mandating that gender-affirming medical treatments should be treated as “child abuse.” Disney will be joining the Human Rights Campaign’s fight against this.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis responded to Disney’s opposition by accusing Disney of being “woke.”
This controversy comes one year after Disney added the fifth key of Inclusion to its guiding principles. These Five Keys include Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency and Inclusion. When announcing the fifth key, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Josh D’Amaro shared that “Inclusion is essential to our culture and leads us forward as we continue to realize our rich legacy of engaging storytelling, exceptional service, and Disney magic.” He also acknowledged that “There’s more to do, but we’re committed to listening, learning and making meaningful improvements.”