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Disney writer urges bosses to stand against Florida’s monstrous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

Emily Chudy March 7, 2022
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Disney animator speaks out about Florida's harmful Don't Say Gay bill

Disney animator speaks out about Florida's harmful Don't Say Gay bill (Benjamin Siemon/Twitter)

A Disney writer has urged the company to stand against Florida’s cruel Don’t Say Gay Bill.

The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill hurtling through Florida’s legislature would ban school teachers from discussing LGBT+ identities.

Activists outraged by the bill have compared it to Section 28 in Thatcher’s Britain, and Russia and Hungary’s “gay propaganda bills”.

After it was reported that the entertainment giant had donated to several politicians backing it, Disney writer Benjamin Siemon has urged his employer to distance itself from the legislation that would “leave kids alone and scared and hurt”.

He said that while he loved working at Disney, backing certain politicians would be “essentially saying that this bill is OK”.

Siemon explained that he was “picked on” at school because he was gay, but an understanding teacher made school an easier time for him.

He said in a video on Twitter: “Luckily, I had a teacher that was very kind, and talked to me about it, and let me know that there wasn’t anything wrong with being gay, and it had a huge impact on my life.

“If the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill passes in Florida, that would have never happened to me. I would have been left alone and scared, and LGBT kids are going to be left alone and scared and hurt by this bill.

“Teachers that are gay and married to partners won’t even be able to talk about them, they’re going to have to pretend that LGBTQ people don’t even exist.”

He added that he loved that Disney is “starting to include more LGBT characters” in movies and shows, however it should “say that it’s wrong and say that you’re going to stop donating to the politicians that vote for it.”

 

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Since Siemon made his video, a petition calling for Disney to denounce the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill has been made public, urging the company not to fund its sponsors.

The petition was created after weeks of demonstrations, and a searing takedown from SNL‘s Kate McKinnon calling the bill “unconscionable”.

The Walt Disney Company has made a statement to Good Morning America supporting LGBT+ employees and viewers, although it did not outright condemn the bill, or pull funding to any lawmakers.

“We understand how important this issue is to our LGBTQ+ employees and many others,” the company said.

“For nearly a century, Disney has been a unifying force that brings people together. We are determined that it remains a place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”

The statement continued: “The biggest impact we can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here, and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community.”

PinkNews has reached out to Disney for further comment.

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