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.
At the premiere of #CheaperbytheDozen, actress and executive producer Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) faced the issue of Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill head-onpic.twitter.com/rQQipsdo6z— The Hollywood Reporter (@The Hollywood Reporter) 1647493615
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.
Gabrielle Union calling out Disney on a Disney red carpet? STUNNING.https://twitter.com/THR/status/1504323371965685760\u00a0\u2026— Olivia Truffaut-Wong (@Olivia Truffaut-Wong) 1647494759
Thank you for speaking out @itsgabrielleu!! Your words have inspired and warmed the hearts of many at Disney today \n\n#DisneyDoBetter #DisneySayTrans #DisneySayGay #WhereIsChapekhttps://twitter.com/marcmalkin/status/1504299944303226883\u00a0\u2026— Disney Walkout (@Disney Walkout) 1647531274
Proud of you for protecting lgbtq rights. Thank youhttps://twitter.com/marcmalkin/status/1504299944303226883\u00a0\u2026— chris flores (@chris flores) 1647552988
Her Disney + movie drops tomorrow. This took guts, but if you\u2019ve met her you shouldn\u2019t be surprised.https://twitter.com/marcmalkin/status/1504299944303226883\u00a0\u2026— Brandon Margolis (@Brandon Margolis) 1647529557
forever a Gabrielle Union fanhttps://twitter.com/Variety/status/1504291178975412224\u00a0\u2026— Rob Plainview (@Rob Plainview) 1647492521
SHE DID THAT: Gabrielle Union is starring in the new @Disney\u2019s \u2018Cheaper by the Dozen\u2019 movie, so she goes to the Disney movie premiere & called Disney out on the red carpet for supporting & funding this anti-LGBTQ #DontSayGay bill. Legendary! Iconic! Thank you! @ItsGabrielleUpic.twitter.com/4N9nyoUvs1— Jerome Trammel (@Jerome Trammel) 1647536809
"Oh, baby, you're next" \nThis is the point. Oppression only grows. It will not stop with the people you disagree with or hate. Protecting gays isn't only the right thing. When the queers are erased or beaten into submission. These monsters will find a new group to go after.https://twitter.com/THR/status/1504323371965685760\u00a0\u2026— Sheena - kay Graham (@Sheena - kay Graham) 1647542381
Say it again!https://twitter.com/thr/status/1504323371965685760\u00a0\u2026— LaChanze (@LaChanze) 1647494490
Gabrielle Union always shows up. Love her so much https://variety.com/2022/film/news/gabrielle-union-disney-dont-say-gay-bill-1235207603/\u00a0\u2026pic.twitter.com/xzXsg6w609— Jarett Wieselman (@Jarett Wieselman) 1647487017
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.