Disney appears to be heading even deeper into trouble over its stance on the new Parental Rights in Education law passed in Florida, known on the Right as the “Anti-Grooming Law” and on the left as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”.
In reality, the law simply gives rights to parents raising their children and regulates the school system in regard of these rights, while outlining that teachers in grades K-3 cannot broaden conversations on gender identity or sex in classroom instruction. For older grades, conversations must be age-appropriate.
Outside of the hysteria, the legislation seems to be widely supported. A recent survey showed that 54% of registered Democrats backed the bill, and in Florida it has huge backing.
Despite this, Disney Corporate had said they would “work to repeal” the law including making donations to human rights groups fighting the bill. An internal Zoom call was leaked in which Disney executives openly talked about their “not so secret gay agenda” and discussed inclusion targets for children’s entertainment. Disney also recently took action to gender-neutralize their parks, removing references to “Ladies And Gentlemen” from announcements and encouraging park staff to recognize pronouns.
They have claimed that the organization was united in this, and Disney was marching in lock-step on the issue. Now it appears that this is not only incorrect but that Disney has massively misread the room on this issue.
First up, messages have begun to find their way online that purport to show leaked postings from an internal communications board. These messages show that many Disney employees are in favor of the bill.
This includes a number of Disney LGBTQIA+ employees. This blows a hole in the Disney line that they are united on this issue as a whole corporate community.
It potentially gets worse for Disney. The much-touted “Big Disney Walkout” over the bill was rumored to have been let die in local media. The reason? Because nobody walked out.
Now comes news that Disney Vacation Club members are seriously unhappy with the Disney position on the bill. There are 220,000 people who have invested in the Vacation Club which is essentially an upmarket timeshare and loyalty program centered on Disney. These are not low-income individuals and are to Disney what regular, loyal Business Class customers are to airlines.
Shareholder action is also being discussed online, which won’t help with the analysts’ view of the stock which is on a trend.
In another blow for Disney, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said that Disney’s special self-governing status may have to come into question as one of the largest employers in the state.
Disney continues to learn the hard way that real life is not Twitter and that there really is a silent, or not-so-silent, majority out there beyond Hollywood and the industry.