Marvel denounces Florida’s “don’t say gay” legislation

(Marvel’s Tessa Thompson)

In an official statement on Twitter, Marvel Studios denounced anti-LGBTQ+ legislation on Tuesday afternoon.

Marvel’s Twitter announcement comes after a week of controversy surrounding its parent company, The Walt Disney Company, and its initial lack of response against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

The statement reads:

“We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community. 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.”

Marvel’s very public stance is in complete contrast to Disney’s lack of response. Walt Disney Company’s CEO Bob Chapek decided to publicly take a “soft stance” on new legislation in Florida, popularly dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would limit discussions regarding gender identity and sexual orientation in educational environments.

The bill was passed by the state’s House of Representatives on Feb. 24 and the state Senate in early March. Unfortunately, a “soft stance” is actually a stance and for those whom the bill affects, the lack of response implies that Disney supports and endorses the hateful rhetoric. 

Chapek specifically said in an internal memo that he did not want to make a public statement about the bill, which affects a very large percentage of the 80,000 people employed by Disney in Florida, “I also believe you deserve an explanation for why we have not issued a statement. We are going to have a more fulsome conversation about this at the company-wide Reimagine Tomorrow Summit in April, but I will preview that discussion now as it is so timely.

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.”

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He went on to say, “I do not want anyone to mistake a lack of a statement for a lack of support.”

Unfortunately the man apparently doesn’t realize that when you refuse to denounce a wrong that you see in the world, you are effectively supporting that wrong. 

Last week, after an immense amount of public backlash, as well as within the company ranks, Chapek scrambled to win back the trust and respect of every person who is either a member of the LGBTQ+ community or who loves someone within the community with a underwhelming “apology.”

In stark contrast, as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill advanced through legislative channels in Florida, Chapek’s predecessor took to social media late last month to with a fairly unequivocal stance:

It really doesn’t seem too difficult to take a stand against hate. 

Many Disney employees have very little trust in their leadership and a series of walk-outs are scheduled to begin on March 15 and continue through March 22, culminating in a “full-scale walkout,” in protest of Chapek’s inability to take a more definitive stance against homophobia and transphobia. 

A twitter handle has been created and the group have shared their list of demands:

A website has also been created to help organize the employees as they schedule their walk-outs. On the main page of the website they state:

“The Walt Disney Company’s (TWDC) LGBTQIA+ community and their allies are determined to take a stand against TWDC’s apathy in the face of the bigoted “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill put forth by the FL state legislature.

The recent statements and lack of action by TWDC leadership regarding the “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill have utterly failed to match the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA+ safety represented by this legislation. 

As a community, we have been forced into an impossible and unsustainable position.  We must now take action to convince TWDC to protect employees and their families in the face of such open and unapologetic bigotry.

Starting the week of March 14th we will begin a series of collective actions together in order to make our voices and demands heard!”

It’s shocking and unfortunate to hear that the newest leadership at the helm of Disney is lacking support for the LGBTQ+ community, including those who work within the company.  At least we know where Keven Feige and Marvel stand. 

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