Amidst reports of employee walkouts at Disney over the company's response to Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill, Marvel Studios issued its own response to the bill. In a break from recent corporate messaging, the Kevin Feige-led outfit strongly condemned the passing of the legislation in support of those potentially affected by the bill.
"We strongly denounce any and all legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community," the statement reads. "Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community. Today, we pledge to continue our strong commitment as allies who promote the values of equality, acceptance, and respect."
Disney initially opted to withhold a statement regarding the bill when it was first passed. Disney CEO Bob Chapek then walked back that stance days later during the company's annual investor's meeting. Now, the company has withheld all of its political giving in Flordia indefinitely.
"As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds. Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame. Simply put, they can be counterproductive and undermine more effective ways to achieve change," Chapek's said in an e-mail to employees ahead of the backlash in early March.
Instead of a public statement, Chapek then sent employees a follow-up e-mail on March 14 apologizing for not offering a comment initially.
"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. I am sorry," Chapek wrote in his apology. "We are hard at work creating a new framework for our political giving that will ensure our advocacy better reflects our values. And today, we are pausing all political donations in the state of Florida pending this review."
The bill, which is now at the desk of Republican Ron DeSantis waiting to be signed into law, prohibits school teachers from making teaching any lessons regarding sexual orientation in grades kindergarten through third grade. Such lessons would also be banned in other grades unless "age and developmentally appropriate."
The bill allows parents the right to sue school districts if such lessons are taught, and Disney contributed monetarily to every politician who sponsored the bill.