Disney insider reveals anger among staff about firm’s opposition to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

A Disney employee wrote an anonymous blog post detailing how a large number of workers are frustrated with the company’s incredibly vocal opposition to Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

The worker, a Disney Imagineer writing under the pseudonym Ethan L. Clay, claims the company’s leaders have ‘surrendered’ to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology and instilled a culture that forces employees who support Florida House Bill 1557 to remain quiet out of fear of scrutiny or termination.

‘I encourage everyone to ignore the bloviating of Disney executive leadership, from CEO Bob Chapek all the way down to park VPs,’ Clay penned in his blog post published on Quillette.com Tuesday. ‘These people are not thought-leaders or cultural revolutionaries. They are cowards held hostage by the prevailing narrative, and they will run in whichever direction that narrative dictates.’

He argued the organization’s top leaders do not represent the ‘real Disney Parks and Resorts employees’ who are ‘as diverse as the country itself’ and mostly want ‘Disney to shut up about politics’.

‘The company’s attempts to use us as a bloc to push their political agenda is intolerant, exploitative, and profoundly un-Disney,’ Clay stated.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB1557 – titled the Parental Rights in Education bill – into law on Monday, banning teachers from giving classroom instruction on ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ in kindergarten through third grade. It will become law from July 1, and teachers who breach its regulations can be sued by parents.

A Disney employee wrote an anonymous blog post detailing how a large number of workers are frustrated with the company's incredibly vocal opposition to Florida's so-called 'Don't Say Gay' bill (Pictured: Disney employees in California rallying against the bill on March 22)

A Disney employee wrote an anonymous blog post detailing how a large number of workers are frustrated with the company’s incredibly vocal opposition to Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill (Pictured: Disney employees in California rallying against the bill on March 22)

The employee claimed the company's leadership, including CEO Bob Chapek (pictured Sunday), 'are cowards held hostage by the prevailing narrative, and they will run in whichever direction that narrative dictates'

The employee claimed the company’s leadership, including CEO Bob Chapek (pictured Sunday), ‘are cowards held hostage by the prevailing narrative, and they will run in whichever direction that narrative dictates’

President Biden on Wednesday tore into the ‘political attacks’ on transgender children coming from state legislators across the country such as Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

‘Visibility matters, and so many transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Americans are thriving,’ Biden said in a statement marking Transgender Visibility Day. ‘Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity.’

Biden said that in 2021 and 2022, states had proposed ‘hundreds of anti-transgender bills. ‘Efforts to criminalize supportive medical care for transgender kids, to ban transgender children from playing sports, and to outlaw discussing LGBTQI+ people in schools undermine their humanity and corrode our Nation’s values.’

However, another conservative Disney employee said the company is ‘making a terrible miscalculation’ for opposing the just-signed law, and suggested Republican staff and parkgoers may boycott the famous theme park. 

Jose Castillo, a resort manager who is also running for Congress in Florida, said his employer’s decision to oppose the controversial law could be ‘bad for business’ as not everyone is a ‘raging liberal’ who works there.

‘There’s this misconception that everyone at Disney are just raging liberals and I think that can’t be farther from the truth,’ Castillo said on Fox News on Wednesday. ‘I have tons of people that are working for the Walt Disney Company that reach out to me daily on social media [that are Republican].’

The ‘strong conservative’ also said he wasn’t ‘concerned about my job,’ despite his opposing opinion to Disney executives. 

‘I think if I were to get fired for my views, I think it would send a wrong message to conservatives, that conservatives would not be welcome at Disney.’ 

The Imagineer said he has spoken with numerous Disney employees holding various roles within the organization and found vastly differing opinions surrounding the controversial legislation. 

Clay claims the company’s younger, family-less employees working in daily operations tend to be in support of Disney’s move to denounce the bill.

‘[They] mostly intone the party line that Florida’s law is anti-LGBT and represents some kind of effort to “erase” that community,’ he wrote. 

Similarly, a vast majority of the company’s executives are reportedly ‘extremely vocal in their endorsement’ of the bill and frequently initiate conversations about the legislation while ‘they anxiously scan the room for nods of approval.’

‘But others fall silent during company-wide calls and study their company phones whenever the topic comes up,’ Clay argued.

‘I’ve only managed a few private conversations with these people, and the story is consistently the same: keep your mouth shut or find yourself the target of scrutiny and likely termination.’   

He argued the organization's top leaders do not represent the 'real Disney Parks and Resorts employees' who are 'as diverse as the country itself' and mostly want 'Disney to shut up about politics' (Pictured: A demonstrator sporting rainbow Mickey Mouse ears talking to a protester wearing a rainbow face mask on March 22)

He argued the organization’s top leaders do not represent the ‘real Disney Parks and Resorts employees’ who are ‘as diverse as the country itself’ and mostly want ‘Disney to shut up about politics’ (Pictured: A demonstrator sporting rainbow Mickey Mouse ears talking to a protester wearing a rainbow face mask on March 22)

The anonymous blogger claims the company's younger, family-less employees working in daily operations tend to be in support of Disney's move to denounce the bill (Pictured: Employees protest Disney's response to the 'Don't Say Gay' bill on March 22)

The anonymous blogger claims the company’s younger, family-less employees working in daily operations tend to be in support of Disney’s move to denounce the bill (Pictured: Employees protest Disney’s response to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill on March 22)

Clay found those in salaried management and creative roles, many of whom are older and have families, ‘favor parental rights and tend to support the legislation.’

What I have found most interesting about my conversations with this group is that their perceptions depend significantly on how the question is asked,’ he wrote.

‘If I offer a generic “What do you think of the legislation in Florida Bob [Chapek] keeps emailing about?” many are quick to condemn it. But if I ask, “What do you think of the law preventing teaching sexual topics in K-3 grade?” many say they support it.’

The Imagineer also cited a divide within his own department, noting that the creative groups ‘tend to be against the law and in favor of Disney efforts to subvert it,’ whereas those working in engineering and construction tend to support the law. 

Clay’s post came one day after DeSantis signed HB1557 into law, prompting Disney to issue a statement publicly denouncing the legislation. 

‘The Don’t Say Gay bill should have never passed and should have never been signed into law,’ Disney wrote. ‘Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.

‘We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.’

The Imagineer claims the company’s statement is another pronouncement declaring the beliefs of Disney employees, ‘but nobody appears to have bothered to ask the employees themselves.’ 

‘The Disney parks division is an incredibly diverse melting pot of physical, philosophical, religious, and political variations,’ Clay wrote. 

‘We largely mirror the surrounding cultures of Southern California and Florida, but with a decided lean toward more conservative tendencies. It turns out that businesses which brand themselves as family-friendly tend to draw employees who like family-friendly content.’

Another employee wrote a blog post that came one day after DeSantis signed HB1557 into law, prompting Disney to issue a statement publicly denouncing the legislation (pictured)

The employee’s blog post came one day after DeSantis signed HB1557 into law, prompting Disney to issue a statement publicly denouncing the legislation (pictured)

Clay claims that although Disney claims to ‘listen to the voices of their cast members,’ the company has ‘spent the last couple years ignoring vast swathes of its own workforce.’

‘In recent months, they have gone further, actively supporting one group while actively suppressing or simply ignoring the other,’ he wrote. ‘We have changed our core ethos, and our storytelling has suffered under the litmus tests required by DEI requirements. 

‘I have been personally involved in no less than five projects that had their creative visions dimmed by the dictates of profoundly uncreative DEI functionaries: Replace that Christmas song, it’s too Christian. Don’t “culturally appropriate” that visual design, we don’t have a member of that ethnicity on the project team. Send this script to a “sensitivity reader,” the voice is too male. Remove “ladies and gentleman, boys and girls” from all park announcements, it reinforces the gender binary.’

He notes how Disney’s website promises that ‘inclusion is for everyone,’ but in practice ‘inclusion only protects those who think like DEI activists’.

‘“Fairness” only applies to historically oppressed people groups. The only pain worth understanding is that felt by the subsection of LGBT cast members who believe that sex education ought to begin in kindergarten,’ Clay penned.

‘Listening and seeing is restricted to the approved narratives, and even excludes those LGBT cast members who support the Florida legislation. I know many of them personally, and nearly without exception, they are all parents.’

He continued: ‘It’s incredible that a company—particularly a company whose brand is family-friendly content—would oppose the perfectly reasonable view that sexual topics are not appropriate for six-year-olds in a public school setting. 

‘The bill puts the onus back on parents, rather than public schools, to decide how and if these conversations happen. That perspective can be debated, but it is not wrong a priori, and a very large number of Florida voters agree with it. 

‘But Disney isn’t interested in allowing a genuine debate or conversation to occur, it simply wants to satisfy the DEI activists so they stop making trouble and bad headlines for the company. The result is that they parrot the party line, offer craven apologies, and ignore and silence opposition.’  

The author claimed Disney's website promises that 'inclusion is for everyone,' but in practice 'inclusion only protects those who think like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion activists' (Pictured: Employees Carlos Lopez Estrada, left, and Juan Pablo Reyes holding a Mickey Mouse in rainbow colors)

The author claimed Disney’s website promises that ‘inclusion is for everyone,’ but in practice ‘inclusion only protects those who think like Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion activists’ (Pictured: Employees Carlos Lopez Estrada, left, and Juan Pablo Reyes holding a Mickey Mouse in rainbow colors)

Disney has doubled down on its opposition to HB1557 in recent weeks, following backlash from customers and employees for being hesitant to oppose the bill

Disney has doubled down on its opposition to HB1557 in recent weeks, following backlash from customers and employees for being hesitant to oppose the bill

What is the Parental Rights in Education bill?

HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley.

They say the bill’s aim is to ’empower parents’ in their children’s education, and make teachers recognize the distinction between ‘instruction’ and ‘discussion.’

‘What we’re prohibiting is instructing them in a specific direction,’ Baxley said about how teachers lead students in a classroom. 

‘Students can talk about whatever they want to bring up, but sometimes the right answer is, ”You really ought to talk to your parents about that.”’

The bill applies to children in kindergarten through third grade.

It states that ‘classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur.’

It also requires districts to ‘adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,’ something LGBTQ advocates argue could lead to students being outed to their parents without the student’s knowledge or consent.

It was passed on March 8 in a 22-17 vote. The state House had approved the bill late last month. DeSantis signed it into law on March 28 and it will come into effect on July 1.

Disney has doubled down on its opposition to HB1557 in recent weeks, following backlash from customers and employees for being hesitant to oppose the bill.

On Monday, one of the company’s presidents, Karey Burke, vowed to include more gay-lead stories and said Disney would do more to become more inclusive.  

Under the proposal, half of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content would come from underrepresented groups.

Burke said in her Zoom call that the issue hit close to home for her, ‘as the mother of two queer children, actually, one transgender child and one pansexual child, and also as a leader.’ 

‘We have many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories, and yet we don’t have enough leads and narratives in which gay characters just get to be gay characters and not have to be about gay stories,’ she said.

During that same all-hands meeting, television animation executive producer Latoya Raveneau gushed about Disney’s inclusivity and boasted about ‘adding queerness’ to shows and productions.

‘Our leadership over there has been so welcoming to my not-so-secret gay agenda,’ she said. ‘Wherever I could I was adding queerness. No one would stop me and no one was trying to stop me.’ 

But the proposal is just one way the company is becoming increasingly woke.

Disney changed its standard greeting at its Lake Buena Vista theme park from welcoming ‘ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls’ to ‘dreamers of all ages.’ And, in recent weeks, the company has reinstated a same-sex kiss in its upcoming Lightyear film, a Toy Story spin-off.  

But even some of the most staunch fans are having trouble with the new woke changes, with some Disney World regulars saying they would cancel their season passes. 

Disney stock prices have plummeted 4 percent over the past month.   

Disney's stocks have been plummeting in recent months as the company becomes increasingly more woke

Disney’s stocks have been plummeting in recent months as the company becomes increasingly more woke

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, slammed Disney executives for their hypocritical stance about his Parental Rights in Education law in an interview with Tucker Carlson Tuesday night

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, slammed Disney executives for their hypocritical stance about his Parental Rights in Education law in an interview with Tucker Carlson Tuesday night

He pointed out that the company continues to dock its ships in the Dominican Republic, which has outlawed same-sex marriage and removed a clause to protect gay people from discrimination (file image)

He pointed out that the company continues to dock its ships in the Dominican Republic, which has outlawed same-sex marriage and removed a clause to protect gay people from discrimination (file image)

Meanwhile, the company was met with criticism from DeSantis Tuesday after he slammed an executive for her opposition to his Parental Rights in Education law, while docking their Disney cruise ships in the Dominican Republic – a country that bans same-sex marriage and condones discrimination against gay people.

‘You’ve got to wonder why is the hill to die on to have transgenderism injected into kindergarten classrooms, or woke gender ideology injected into second grade classrooms. Why is that the hill to die on?’ he asked in a Tuesday night interview with FOX News’ Tucker Carlson.

‘Meanwhile if we’ve done a bill that prohibited talking about the abuse of Uyghurs in China, Disney would’ve supported that legislation. They won’t say a word about that,’ the Republican governor continued, earning a chuckle from Carlson.

‘So it’s just an odd manifestation of their corporate values that they actually do Disney Cruises, Tucker, to the nation of Dominica, which actually criminalizes homosexuality,’ DeSantis said, referring to laws in the Dominican Republic which ban gay marriage and make anti-gay discrimination legal.

‘So they’re fine doing that and lining their pockets, they’re fine lining their pockets from the CCP, and all the atrocities going on there,’ he continued, referring to the Chinese Communist Party, which the company thanked in the credits of its live-action Mulan reboot.

‘But it’s those kindergarteners in Florida that they really want to have transgenderism as part of their core curriculum in school.’ 

‘They’re making a terrible miscalculation that will be bad for business’: Brave Disney worker speaks out about firm’s opposition to ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, says staff disagree and slams the left for failing to respect democracy 

A conservative Disney employee said the company is ‘making a terrible miscalculation’ for opposing the just-signed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, and suggested Republican staff and parkgoers may boycott the famous theme park. 

Jose Castillo, who is also running for Congress in Florida, said his employer’s decision to oppose the controversial Parental Rights Bill, which has been dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, could be ‘bad for business’ as not everyone is a ‘raging liberal’ who works there.

‘There’s this misconception that everyone at Disney are just raging liberals and I think that can’t be farther from the truth,’ Castillo said on Fox News on Wednesday. ‘I have tons of people that are working for the Walt Disney Company that reach out to me daily on social media [that are Republican].’

The ‘strong conservative’ also said he wasn’t ‘concerned about my job,’ despite his opposing opinion to Disney executives. Castillo works as a manager at the resort.

‘I think if I were to get fired for my views, I think it would send a wrong message to conservatives, that conservatives would not be welcome at Disney.’ 

He also said Disney’s position on the bill could be ‘bad for business’ as it’s saying ‘our goal is for the law to be repealed by the legislator or struck down by the courts.’

Jose Castillo, a Disney employee and Congress hopeful, said Disney is 'making a terrible miscalculation' by supporting the 'Don't Say Gay' bill. 'There's this misconception that everyone at Disney are just raging liberals and I think that can't be farther from the truth,' he said on Wednesday. He argued that Disney's liberal stance on the bill isolated conservative workers who 'voted for our state legislator,' which passed the bill

Jose Castillo, a Disney employee and Congress hopeful, said Disney is ‘making a terrible miscalculation’ by supporting the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. ‘There’s this misconception that everyone at Disney are just raging liberals and I think that can’t be farther from the truth,’ he said on Wednesday. He argued that Disney’s liberal stance on the bill isolated conservative workers who ‘voted for our state legislator,’ which passed the bill

CEO of Disney Bob Chapek has announced the company disagrees with the Parental Rights Bill, which has been dubbed the 'Don't Say Gay' bill

CEO of Disney Bob Chapek has announced the company disagrees with the Parental Rights Bill, which has been dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill 

He argues that many staff were in favor of the bill and the company’s pushback against its own workers is killing democracy.

Only a ‘small minority within the Walt Disney Company that’s a part of the LGBT community are screaming the loudest and they’re being the most vocal,’ he said. 

‘The left talks about democracy, but what about our democracy?’ Castillo questioned. ‘The people of Florida, a lot of Disney cast members, voted for our state legislature. These are dually elected members of the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate who passed this bill, [and] sent it to the governor, and thank God our governor has the backbone to stand up to companies like [Disney] to stand with the people of Florida, stand with the parents to protect our children.’  

Fox News’ Laura Ingraham suggested Disney’s position could isolate Republicans from going to Disney parks and could cause conservatives to boycott the most Magical Place on Earth. Castillo agreed, stating that’s why Disney needed its conservative employees to speak out. 

‘We need conservatives like me – I being a candidate, I’m being as loud as I can to tell people we need to stand up for our conservative values. And I’ll be doing the same in Congress.’ 

President Biden on Wednesday tore into the ‘political attacks’ on transgender children coming from state legislators across the country such as Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

‘Visibility matters, and so many transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming Americans are thriving,’ Biden said in a statement marking Transgender Visibility Day. ‘Despite this progress, transgender Americans continue to face discrimination, harassment, and barriers to opportunity.’

Biden said that in 2021 and 2022, states had proposed ‘hundreds of anti-transgender bills. ‘Efforts to criminalize supportive medical care for transgender kids, to ban transgender children from playing sports, and to outlaw discussing LGBTQI+ people in schools undermine their humanity and corrode our Nation’s values.’

However, another Disney employee, writing under the pseudonym Ethan L. Clay, claimed the company’s leaders have ‘surrendered’ to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) ideology and instilled a culture that forces employees who support the law to remain quiet out of fear of scrutiny or termination.

‘I encourage everyone to ignore the bloviating of Disney executive leadership, from CEO Bob Chapek all the way down to park VPs,’ Clay penned in his blog post published on Quillette.com Tuesday. ‘These people are not thought-leaders or cultural revolutionaries. They are cowards held hostage by the prevailing narrative, and they will run in whichever direction that narrative dictates.’

He argued the organization’s top leaders do not represent the ‘real Disney Parks and Resorts employees’ who are ‘as diverse as the country itself’ and mostly want ‘Disney to shut up about politics’.

‘The company’s attempts to use us as a bloc to push their political agenda is intolerant, exploitative, and profoundly un-Disney,’ Clay stated.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a parental rights bill that bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘ gender identity’ in kindergarten through third grade

He also said in a blog post that employees used ‘their ample spare time for internal political action’ during the pandemic lockdown. 

‘The [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion] department within the company expanded by an astonishing 633 percent in 2019–21, at the same time that nearly every other department was contracting by 25–75 percent,’ employee Ethan Clay said. 

At the same time, the fifth key, Inclusion, was added to the four other Disney training keys: Safety, Courtesy, Show, and Efficiency. 

He said the original four keys helped ‘Disney cast members tell stories that appeal across demographic, geographic, ethnic, religious, and political lines.’ 

‘Every major event that took place in American society since Disneyland first opened its gates in 1955 rolled by and the Four Keys remained unaltered. And yet, in 2021, as the nation reopened from lockdowns in fits and starts, the Fifth Key of Inclusion was added. Why now? Why at all?’ he questioned. 

He said ‘Florida was the final straw’ and that ‘Disney has been rotting from the inside for quite some time.’ 

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