Earlier today, at least hundreds of employees with Disney walked out as a protest against Disney’s lack of action towards Florida’s newest bills. In case you’re unaware, Florida recently announced a bill that many call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. If passed, it would prohibit the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity from the grade levels kindergarten to third grade. Many worry that this will isolate LGBT children or those who have LGBT family members. Disney employees felt that the company should cease funding and donating to politicians and create a solid plan to further protect LGBT employees. Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, did apologize for not speaking out about the bill, but many are wishing for more from the company.
— Steve Desaulniers (@steve_desaul) March 22, 2022
Now, after today’s walkout, many on Twitter got to watch as Disney employees protested and further proved they meant what they said in regards to Disney. Many also held signs saying #DisneyDoBetter and #DisneySayGay. From this, those who did not participate in the walkout due to not being employed with the company sent love to employees and posted that they supported the LGBT members of the company. According to the Los Angeles Times, one person who participated said that “We came out today to stand in support of our queer employees and their families, and it’s been amazing to see everyone.” Interestingly, employees of Disney tend to be incredibly loyal to the company and often described as an “insular” company culture. So, though there have been walkouts with many companies before, many feel that the walkout with Disney is more surprising than others.
One thing we'd like to reiterate:
The pressure here is for Disney to permanently pull funding from supporters of this bill.
— Disney Walkout (@DisneyWalkout) March 22, 2022
Many employees on Twitter also pointed out that although Disney has posted supportive messages for the LGBT community, both online and in company memos, there is no concrete action reporting what the company plans to do to support their LGBT employees. Employees noted that this is what they were asking for when deciding to walk out and protest. This is what is known as performative activism when a person or company wants to seem as if they are supporting a marginalized group of people but are not actually making any steps to help or support. Instead, they only want the image of activism.
Although Disney has yet to comment, the walkout did a wonderful job of bringing light to the issue and informing those who might not have realized everything going on not only with Disney but with the Florida bill as well. It seemed to have a great turnout, with many people joining in person but also having a lot of support online as well.