News & Opinion | March 23, 2022 4:26 pm

Employees at the Happiest Place on Earth Stage Walk-Out Over “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

Walt Disney World Employees are walking out today in protest of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill

man with pro-trans sign in front of Walt Disney World
Disney employees walk off the job to protest Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill.
Octavio Jones via Getty

Pushback against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill has entered the Magic Kingdom. 

On Tuesday, workers at Disney walked off the job for a full day in protest of the newly passed Parental Rights in Education bill (known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill), which bans instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity from kindergarten to third grade, and limits what classrooms can teach on those subjects unless it is age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate.

Opponents of the bill say that it will isolate and shame LGBTQIA+ children and families. Workers at Disney have been walking off of the job from 3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. daily since March 15, but today will be the first full day walk out. 

The Walt Disney Company previously failed to condemn the bill outright and has been scrambling to change public perception, even re-editing the movie Lightyear to included a same-sex kiss after it was previously edited out. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has come under fire for failing to condemn the bill in his own public statement, and he’s now pledged $5 million to LGBT+ charities. 

While management has said that they were supportive of striking workers, that might not be evident in reality. From the Twitter account @DisneyWalkout, they reported that cast members who weren’t walking out were told not to wear pride or trans Disney pins, made by the company, on the job. 

The account went on to say that the desired outcome of the walk-out was for the company to defund supporters of the bill. “This is about our community and cast members in FL and always will be,” the statement said. 

Disney-owned ESPN has also been supportive of the walk-outs and has protested the company’s apathy with walk-outs of their own. Announcers Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle conducted two minutes of silence during the Women’s NCAA Tournament, reaffirming that “A threat to any human rights is a threat to all human rights.”