The Walt Disney Co. is known for making family-friendly movies and theme parks. The entertainment giant has finally ended up amid controversy for systematically ignoring the LGBTQ+ community.
When the new Florida law that restricted classroom instructions on sexual orientation and gender identity created a righteous controversy, Disney tried to not take a side publicly. This led to an employee revolt which prompted the company to "aggressively denounce the bill," wrote New York Times columnist Brooks Barnes.
Disney decided to make loudspeakers announcements in theme parks gender-neutral last summer. Instead of 'ladies and gentleman, boys and girls', now visitors are addressed as 'dreamers of all ages'. Many in the LGBTQ+ community and activists are considering the actions to be too little and too late. On the other hand, Florida lawmakers have threatened to revoke a 55-year-old law allowing Walt Disney World to function as its own municipal government.
Former Walt Disney Studios executive Martin Kaplan said that the motto of the brand has always been not to offend anyone. The management also avoided everything that might upset or confuse the "family audience. Brookes also pointed out that the first Black Disney princess was introduced in 2009. Kaplan noted that the world is so divided today that "even Disney is having a hard time bringing us together."
As a brand in the entertainment industry, Disney has been surely slow in catching up with the world. However, there have been more diversity and inclusivity in the past decade. And employees of the brand have shown up in support of the LGBTQ+ community against the 'don't say gay' law.