Abigail Disney, the director and granddaughter of Disney’s co-founder Roy, shut down conservatives who attacked the company after it spoke out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” which was signed into law last month.
Appearing Sunday on CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” Disney described the anti-Disney campaign as a “coordinated, strategic plan.”
“Disney seems like the biggest target because it’s so woven into families,” she told host Brian Stelter. “And so if you can create this idea that somebody’s in there trying to indoctrinate your child, my goodness, the paranoid imagination can run circles with that.”
Florida HB 1557 – promoted under the name “Parental Rights in Education” bill but widely known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – bans primary school teachers from instructing on sexual orientation and gender identity and bans teachers of all grade levels from discussing these topics when appropriate. At the bill signing in late March, Gov. Ron DeSantis said, “We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination.” Right-wing politicians and media pundits quickly began circulating that phrase when Disney – under pressure from LGBTQ+ employees and the public – came out against the bill and vowed to get it repealed.
Abigail Disney called these claims of indoctrination “absurd,” saying: “The thing that Disney stands for more than anything, in every film and especially in the animation – [whether] there’s a gay character or not – is love and acceptance and family and joy. So they’re trying to inject something into what Disney does, that has nothing to do with what Disney does.”
Zeroing in on the bill itself, she asked, “What is their theory of change exactly? Because if you were to erase every reference to gayness and gay people from the planet, which is sort of what the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill feels like, will children not become gay? Do they need to be recruited and groomed or are people just gay?”
Ultimately, she said, the bill is an “ineffective” way of silencing the LGBTQ+ community, because “if you go back through history, there’s been gay people whether or not the word was ever spoken.”
She continued, “It’s an attempt to push history backward, and it denies the fact that everyone – conservative or not – has a gay friend or transgender family member. We’re all in it together now, and I think it’s all of our fight.”
Abigail Disney did not address Bob Chapek, the Disney CEO whose initial silence around the bill drew major backlash and led employees to protest. Her documentary “The American Dream and Other Fairytales,” which premiered at Sundance Film Festival this year, examined the company’s role in increasing wealth inequality.
In an interview with TheWrap, Disney said Chapek was “notorious at the parks for implementing a lot of the cost-savings that have translated into terrible developments for the workers.” Though she said she’d never met him, she worried about the fact that “he’s never held a creative job at the company, and from what I hear, he’s not interested in the creative aspect of the company.”