Doing the Math: What Disney Gave the Sponsors of the 'Don't Say Gay' Bill

Wednesday March 9, 2022

Now that the "Don't Say Gay" bill is headed to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing, The Walt Disney Company has come under fire for donating to those legislators who sponsored the bill.†

"The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community," Disney said in a†statement†to†Good Morning America.

IndieWire reported on Wednesday that Disney "is still funding the homophobic politicians who've supported the bill, and nothing Disney CEO†Bob Chapek†has said indicates that that will change."

"While Disney CEO Bob Chapek has yet to make a public statement regarding the bill or Disney's donations, he has reportedly asked to meet with the company's LGBTQ+ community leaders to discuss ways to offer support. Per IndieWire, Disney will hold a March 22 conversation dedicated to 'issues of concern to our LGBTQ+ colleagues,' and Chapek is scheduled participate in an April 13 company-wide summit about 'progress on and plans for improving diversity, equity, and inclusion at Disney,' " writes Vulture.

"But Abigail Disney, the grand-niece of Walt Disney who has been openly†critical of the company, tweeted that Chapek is more worried about 'right-wing backlash' than his fans or employees," reports BuzzFeed News

"The times for neutrality are long since over," she tweeted. "That train has left the goddam station. What is Disney for? Is it for pretending what America is about, or it is for defining a vision for a world in which fantasy, love, kindness, decency and loyalty are bedrock values."

But how much did Disney give the GOP candidates who put the bill through the legislature?

NPR reports that, "According to the accountability news site†Popular Information, 'in the last two years, Disney has donated $197,162 to members of the Florida legislature that have already voted for the "Don't Say Gay" legislation,' including to sponsors of the bill, Florida Rep. Joe Harding (R) and state Sen. Dennis Baxley (R)."

IndieWire notes that, according to the Orlando Sentinel (where the story is behind a pay wall), "Ocala Republican Dennis Baxley has actively backed anti-gay legislation for years, including laws that would block gay couples from adopting children.

"Additionally, Baxley 'once compared kids who live with same-sex parents to kids raised by alcoholics and abusers and later said, "I'm not phobic, but I simply can't affirm homosexuality," ' " IndieWire added, still citing the Sentinel. "The Walt Disney Company has allegedly donated to Baxley, among other bill supporters."