A groveling Disney CEO Bob Chapek on Monday told employees the company should have condemned Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill that blocked the teaching of sexuality and transgender ideology to students in kindergarten through third grade, speaking 24-hours hours before mutinous staff planned to walk out during a day-long strike.
A virtual town hall for employees was used by management to stem internal strife at Disney, as the company’s chief executive continued to apologize and shifted its public statements about the legislation, which critics falsely call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“We know the moment requires urgency — and words are not enough,” said Chapek, according to a recording of his remarks obtained by Reuters. “So we are taking some actions right now.”
One of those “actions” involved releasing a statement of apology and contrition for past actions as well as a special “task force” to “develop action plans to make more LGBT-aware content for children and family,” the Wall Street Journal reported.
Chapek drew pointed criticism for saying in a companywide memo March 7 declaring the corporation can make the “biggest impact” by “creating a more inclusive world through the inspiring content we produce.”
Three days later he apologized again directly to employees in a letter released March 11.
“It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down,” Chapek said in the letter. “I am sorry.”
He also announced all donations to elected officials in Florida would be stopped although striking employees still went ahead with their walk out.
Chapek and his senior leaders say they will now embark on a global listening tour and meet with employees in the United States and internationally as an act of contrition for their actions.
He promised more apologies on more sites and in more countries until staff are satisfied.
Disney also said it has established an LGBTQ+ task force to 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.
The company said the task force will seek out experts to develop a concrete plan to ensure Disney is “a force for good” for LGBTQ+ communities, especially children and family.
Meanwhile, Disney continues to do business in China despite the communist country’s myriad human rights abuses from genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang to ethnic cleansing in Tibet.
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