As Disney is being called out for not taking political action against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by the Human Rights Campaign and employees at Pixar, GLAAD announced on Thursday that it will begin grading Hollywood studios on their record of LGBTQ advocacy and not just on their content.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek initially proposed that Disney did not need to enter the political arena to fight anti-gay legislation, but would be changing the world for the better with its “inspiring content.”
The media monitoring organization already produces a Studio Responsibility Index, which analyzes queer representation in releases by eight major film studio distributors: Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, STX Films, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros.
The group will now grade studios on these four additional issues:
• Donations to anti-LGBTQ elected officials, candidates for office, and anti-LGBTQ Political Action Committees from a film studio and parent company.
• Public advocacy efforts from a film studio or parent company around pro-LGBTQ or anti-LGBTQ legislation.
• LGBTQ-inclusive ads or other public communications, especially outside of Pride month.
The 10th annual Studio Responsibility Index will be released in summer 2022 and will document recent victories including Disney refusing to cut a same-sex kiss in Marvel’s “Eternals,” at the request of censors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait.
GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis shared the news on Twitter with the message: “No company that chooses silence over allyship should receive high scores from LGBTQ organizations while nearly 200 anti-LGBTQ bills advance in states around the country, often targeting transgender youth. Corporations need to be held accountable for funding politicians that harm LGBTQ people, including their own employees, and for inaction on legislation that they can help defeat. Today GLAAD moves this forward in the entertainment industry and GLAAD will be leading efforts to create similar accountability across industries. LGBTQ inclusion is not just what happens on screen. The Walt Disney Company and other media companies need to take immediate action in Florida and other states. Entertainment and media companies cannot profit from our stories and stay silent on laws that discriminate against us.”
In its Studio Responsibility reports, GLAAD assigns a grade to each major studio: Excellent, Good, Insufficient, Poor, or Failing. Due to theaters being shuttered for most of 2020, the organization did not issue grades in 2021, but gave Disney a “Poor” rating in 2020 for releasing only 21% of films that were deemed LGBTQ-inclusive.
Per the press release, “No film studio has ever received an ‘Excellent’ grade for LGBTQ representation in the report.”