People are applauding actress Gabrielle Union after she pointedly spoke out against Disney's support of Florida's recent so-called "Don't Say Gay" bill, which makes discussion of gender or sexuality in elementary schools punishable under the law.
Backlash against Disney, which has donated large sums to Florida politicians involved with bill, has been intense, especially after CEO Bob Chapek announced the company would not be reversing its support in response to the outcry, but would simply "reassess" its political giving.
Union is the star of an upcoming Disney+ remake of Cheaper by the Dozen, and while walking the red carpet at the film's premiere, she subtly slammed Disney's support for it with expert precision.
See her comments below.
In a moment that many felt was clearly a reference to Disney, Union, whose stepdaughter is trans, pointedly told The Hollywood Reporter:
"...[P]eople are so damn complacent. Corporations who could really, truly make a difference and take a stand--not fund it... If you're gonna take a stand, and be all about diversity and inclusion... you need to actually put your money where your mouth is."
"You can't stand against hate and oppression and fund hate and oppression."
Union seemed to be citing a recent memo from Disney CEO Bob Chapek in which he told Disney employees that the company would not cease its support for the politicians responsible for the legislation, focusing instead on "unwavering support" of the LGBTQ community in its "inclusive" content. Employees have challenged that characterization of Disney's content, however.
Republicans have repeatedly tried to position the "Don't Say Gay" bill as a ban on inappropriate discussions and instruction pertaining to homosexual sexual activity in kindergarten through third-grade classrooms.
But the bill as written bans "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity," a vague prescription that is not defined with any specificity in the bill, leaving children who mention their gay parents open to lawsuits, as just one example.
Efforts by multiple legislators of both parties to clarify the bill's wording accordingly have been shot down by Republicans.
Speaking to Variety at the same event, Union put a finer point on her criticism of Disney and other corporations who support anti-LGBTQ politicians while claiming to support the LGBTQ community.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Are you disappointed?’ I’m disappointed when my order isn’t right at In-N-Out. I don’t even think that’s a word that you could use for something like this, where children’s lives are literally hanging in the balance."
“We need to own that if you truly are taking stands against hate and oppression, you should not fund hate and oppression. Period. The damage is done.”
On Twitter, people applauded Union for not holding back.
Union's red carpet comments come as Disney employees plan a week of walkouts in protest of Chapek's response to the "Don't Say Gay" bill.