Disney Workers Stage Walkouts Over Florida Bill

Headline Roundup March 23rd, 2022

Groups of Disney employees in California and elsewhere staged walkouts Tuesday over what they say is an inadequate response by company leadership to a controversial Florida bill.

Some employees and LGBTQ+ activists have criticized the company's reaction to Florida's Parental Rights in Education bill, which prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation for children in the third grade or younger. A "Disney Employee's Open Letter Against the Actions of The Walt Disney Company Leadership" accuses company leadership of failing "to match the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA+ safety represented by this legislation." After initially declining to take a stance, Disney CEO Bob Chapek pledged support for the LGBTQ+ community and announced two weeks ago that Disney donations to Florida politicians would pause. In Burbank, Calif., between 60 and 70 employees held a brief protest Tuesday; reports across the spectrum highlighted how the protesters were matched by the number of news media personnel in attendance. 

The bill has spurred a sharp divide in media coverage. Reports from left-rated sources and others across the spectrum described the bill as the "Don't Say Gay" bill and framed it as anti-LGBTQ+. Coverage from the left often highlighted employees' calls for Disney to cut off political donations. Coverage from right-rated outlets often framed the walkouts as small and the bill as protecting parental rights; some focused on groups who urged Disney to reverse its opposition to the bill, and highlighted data that suggests a majority of Americans support the bill.

From the Right

A group of Disney employees staged a walkout on Tuesday at locations across the country, demanding the company do more to protect LGBTQ people and protesting that CEO Bob Chapek waited too long to condemn a bill passed by the Florida legislature.

The legislation that sparked the outcry is the Parents Rights in Education bill, which has been dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" bill by critics. If signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would prohibit Florida educators from teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

Disney has been under fire...

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From the Center

Small groups of Walt Disney Co. DIS 1.07% employees across the U.S. took Tuesday off from work and gathered to protest what they described as the company’s continued failure to support LGBT employees.

The walkouts mark the beginning of a third week of turmoil inside the entertainment giant as its leadership struggles to contain fallout from its bungled response to a Republican-led education bill in Florida, which many employees said targeted the LGBT community.

The Parental Rights in Education bill, passed March 8 by the Florida Senate, prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation...

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From the Left

Some employees of The Walt Disney Company walked off the job Tuesday to protest what they said was the company's tepid response to a Florida bill that would restrict discussion of gender and sexuality in schools.

Hundreds of employees were seen marching out of the company's headquarters in Burbank, Calif., Tuesday morning, according to CNBC field producer Steve Desaulniers.

The full-scale walkout came after Disney employees planned a series of smaller walkouts during their 15-minute breaks to urge the company to take a stronger stance against the Parental Rights in Education legislation, which advocates have dubbed the "Don't Say...

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