Abigail Disney: ‘We need corporations to step up on principle’

In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, guests watch a show near a statue of Walt Disney and Micky Mouse in front of the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, part of the Orlando area in Fla.

Walt Disney Company heiress Abigail Disney, a documentary filmmaker, is criticizing the entertainment multinational for what she described as a “slow and bungled reaction” to Florida’s new “Don’t Say Gay” education law, but she says conservatives pushing back against the company have picked the wrong fight.

“To find its way again, Disney needs to muster the courage to weather the momentary outrage of people who will not be satisfied until they have erased an entire class of human beings,” Disney wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post this week. “Because if this brand does not stand for love, what on earth is it for?”

Disney Inc. has faced backlash from both the political right and left in recent weeks for its statements on Florida’s new law, which bans the teaching of gender studies and other material dealing with sexual orientation before a certain age.

Republicans in Florida and across the country have championed the law as a necessary pushback against what they say is “woke” politically correct ideology being pushed on students at school. Opponents of the legislation say it is discriminatory and targets LGBT youth.

“Yes, voices on both the left and right have embraced the mantra that ‘markets fix everything.’ But the most vigorous defenders of extreme subsidies, tax breaks, deregulation and disempowerment of workers are consistently found on the right,” Disney wrote. “This time, the far-right-wing political machine appears to have gotten out over its skis. Politicians should be asking whether, come next election cycle, Disney or any other corporation will back them given these threats of arbitrary punishment under a potential Republican administration. Has allowing zealots (and opportunists) to take charge of the right-wing agenda effectively bitten the corporate hand that has fed the right for so long?”

Abigail Disney has been critical of the company in the past, blasting it after recent layoffs and questioning what she called its “upside-down structure.”

The political backlash against Disney, the grandniece of Walt Disney argued, “is a monster of corporate America’s own creation.”

“Once content to stay quiet and feign neutrality while real people were actively harmed by right-wing policy machinations, the mob has now come for businesses,” she wrote. “We need corporations to step up on principle, regardless of what the resulting backlash might look like.”

Tags Abigail Disney Disney Don't Say Gay Florida The Walt Disney Company
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