Disney Employees Passing Around Petition in Favor of a ‘Politically Neutral Disney’ Amidst ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill Controversy

Over the past couple of weeks, The Walt Disney Company has been under fire for donating money to sponsors of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek originally acknowledged the situation and received immense backlash from Disney employees for his lack of action. He later apologized to Cast Members via email, denounced the bill, and vowed to be an ally to the LGBT+ community.

After much criticism and backlash from employees and fans, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would be pausing all political donations in the state of Florida.

Disney Cast Members organized multiple walk outs in protest of the company’s lack of support for the LGBT+ community. Just yesterday, hundreds of Disney employees walked out of Disney Headquarters in Burbank, California.

But according to this new petition that has been making the rounds, not all Disney employees want The Walt Disney Company to be involved in politics.

Some Disney employees are passing around a petition hoping that The Walt Disney Company will stop getting involved in politics and remain “politically neutral.”

Read the full petition below:

“Disney Employees’ Open Letter in Favor of a Politically Neutral Disney

As employees of the Walt Disney Company, we believe in the dignity of all people. This is why we do what we do. We write stories. We make costumes. We act in parades. We run cruises. We stream movies. We make magic. We do this because our work contributes to a fountain of wonder that inspires joy, awe, and delight in guests and audiences of all ages. We are proud employees of the Walt Disney Company. We love our jobs because we get to share the wonder of life and human experience with millions of people worldwide.

However, over the last few years, one group of cast members has become invisible within the company. The Walt Disney Company has come to be an increasingly uncomfortable place to work for those of us whose political and religious views are not explicitly progressive. We watch quietly as our beliefs come under attack from our own employer, and we frequently see those who share our opinions condemned as villains by our own leadership.

The company’s evolving response to the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” legislation in Florida has left many of us wondering what place we have in a company actively promoting a political agenda so far removed from our own. TWDC leadership frequently communicates its commitment to creating an inclusive workplace where cast members feel comfortable sharing their perspectives and being their authentic selves at work. That is not our workplace experience.

Over the last few weeks, we have watched as our leadership has expressed their condemnation for laws and policies we support. We have watched as our colleagues, convinced that no one in the company could possibly disagree with them, grow increasingly aggressive in their demands. They insist that TWDC take a strong stance on not only this issue but other legislation and openly advocate for the punishment of employees who disagree with them.

An internal poll within the company went out a few months ago asking us if we felt accepted in the company. Many of us didn’t complete it because the nature of the questions made us worry that the results of the poll could be used to target us for quietly holding a position that runs against the progressive orthodoxy that Disney seems to promote. TWDC has fostered an environment of fear that any employee who does not toe the line will be exposed and dismissed.

Much has been made of our internal efforts to Reimagine Tomorrow, but as much as diversity and inclusion are promoted, the tomorrow being reimagined doesn’t seem to have much room for religious or political conservatives within the company. Left-leaning cast members are free to promote their agenda and organize on company time using company resources. They call their fellow employees “bigots” and pressure TWDC to use corporate influence to further their left-wing legislative goals.

Meanwhile, those of us who don’t align with this vision keep our heads down and do our work without bringing our personal beliefs into the workplace. We’ve done this without complaint because we don’t want to rock the boat, but the boat is being rocked, and our leadership seems compelled to reward those who are rocking it.

Employees who want TWDC to make left-wing political statements are encouraged, while those of us who want the company to remain neutral can say so only in a whisper out of fear of professional retaliation. The company we love seems to think we don’t exist or don’t belong here. This politicization of our corporate culture is damaging morale and causing many of us to feel our days with TWDC might be numbered.

Furthermore, as this politicization makes its way into our content and public messaging, our more conservative customers will feel similarly unwanted. You can only preach at or vilify your audience for so long before they decide to spend their money elsewhere.

Working for The Walt Disney Company is a dream come true. We love being part of creating the magic that so many people around the world enjoy. Our storytelling is second to none. It resonates with people from all walks of life across the political spectrum. Our parks are the source of joy and inspiration that Walt hoped they would become. Every year, millions of guests escape an increasingly divided world to a place where they can relive fond memories of the past and savor the challenge and promise of the future. They do this alongside thousands of other guests that might not have anything in common with them other than a shared love of Disney.

The unique brand of family entertainment that Disney is known for is an objective good in this dark world. It brings people together and provides cultural touchpoints that even the worst enemies can unite over. At the height of COVID lockdowns in the Summer of 2020 when the country was fiercely divided over a range of issues, Hamilton provided us something to collectively celebrate. At the end of an incredibly contentious election year, The Mandalorian was there to soothe a weary nation with non-political entertainment we could all enjoy no matter who you voted for. When Disney takes sides in political debates, they deprive the world of a shared love we all have in common. TWDC is uniquely situated to provide experiences and entertainment that can bridge our national divide and bring us all together.

CEO, Bob Chapek had the right idea in his original statement that he has since walked back. In Chapek’s own words, “As we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds. … Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame.” Disney is far more important and impactful to the world by avoiding politics than it will ever be by embracing a political agenda. By focusing on entertainment that inspires us with stories of universal appeal, we are doing good in the world.

Disney shouldn’t be a vehicle for one demographic’s political activism. It’s so much bigger and more important than that. More than ever, the world needs things that we can unite around. That’s the most valuable role The Walt Disney Company could play in the world at this time. It’s a role we’ve played for nearly a century, and it would be a shame to throw all of that away in the face of left-wing political pressure. Please don’t let Disney become just another thing we divide over.”

Click here to be brought to the petition.

Do you think Disney should stay out of politics? Let us know in the comments.

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  1. Yes, Disney should stay out of politics. Of course most of us agree that all should be welcome anywhere anytime, however, taking a side politically potentially offends 50% of your customer base. Sure, most of those will still see a movie or go to a park but it still hurts. I know I don’t patronize companies that openly support certain political views which don’t align with my own. If they stay neutral then I stay neutral as well. I just planned ANOTHER trip to Universal Orlando in two weeks. No politics shoved in my face…they get my money.

  2. Absolutely Disney should stay neutral. The only way the company will stay prosperous and relevant is to stay out of politics. Conservative views are just as valuable and poignant as progressive views. Let’s keep the magic alive and keep Mickey independent.

  3. I’m all for staying out of politics, but that letter definitely brings politics into it by using very strong conservative language. It didn’t use “woke”, but basically was saying those words indirectly. I would like to see your blog that prints word for word the letter on the other side of the issue on why staying silent on the “Don’t say Gay” law is a problem…just to give balance to a very hot topic.

    1. WDWNT did plenty to show the other side of this issue. So much so that I stopped donating to them via Patreon. If they hate my views so much, I had to assume they heated my money too.

        1. It would help if the news was complete and accurate. Weeks before this article was published the inaccuracy of the claims about the law were publicly acknowledged. Anyone can go look at the law for themselves. It would take almost literally no effort to excerpt relevant portions of the law that directly refute what opponents are saying about it.

  4. What a horrible sentiment. It takes a truly conservative POV to argue that inclusion is diametrically opposed to their beliefs. Jesus loves all so don’t use your “religious views” as a flimsy veil to hide bigotry. Disney and it’s affiliates would be best off without this underlying current present in its parks and studios. Conservatism is not what this petition promotes.

  5. There can be no neutral stance when it comes to human rights. If your political views tell you to discriminate or censor minority groups for who they are, then, yes, you should be ashamed.

    1. 100% agree. Now take that argument and apply it to the side that doesn’t agree with you.

  6. I whole-heartedly agree with this statement. Believe what you want on social issues. But don’t push your opinions on others. Disney taking sides on politics only furthers to divide us and maddens Disney fans like me who just want to take in the beautiful parks.

  7. Signed. Staying neutral is in the best interest of everyone. There are no winners in taking one side or the other in this fight. Just stay out of it until the kids tire themselves out.

  8. Yes!!! No matter what side they take, they will offend and exclude half the population. That’s NOT inclusion, the 5th pillar.

  9. Bravo to the employees behind this petition that will sadly fall on deaf ears. Good for you for emphasizing that in typical elitist liberal fashion Disney preaches tolerance and inclusion but that only applies if you are an extreme leftist, any other points of view must be silenced or terminated. As the petition get to, Disney is an entertainment company, not a progressive political action committee and should conduct itself accordingly.

  10. Conservatives again, proving they need to be the biggest victims in the room.

    Imagine being the type of person that equates uproar over anti-LGBTQ State legislation to being mad for being called a bigot…while supporting bigoted policy.

    You can’t make this stuff up. The victim posturing in this open letter is tone deaf and nauseating.

  11. I agree with this. While I myself do not consider myself conservative, this makes total sense. There is one side of the political spectrum that wants everything their way while the other side has sat quietly. It does not have to be so divided.

  12. Absolutely agree that Disney needs to be TOTALLY apolitical and provide a welcoming environment for ALL its employees and customers. Walt Disney created a place for magic and family… removed from the stress and problems of the world. That’s why we all love to vacation there! The company is destroying the magic and bringing in all the world’s problems. STOP! Bring back the magic!

  13. Here’s the thing, though: The primary reason driving the backlash and public walkout should not be viewed as a political issue, because it’s a civil rights issue. It’s the difference between right and wrong, not left and right. Separate from that, I absolutely agree with the assertion that it would be far more ideal if political donations from major corporations became a thing of the past, so that’s an aspect of the petition I can get behind.

    1. Spot on! It is a civil rights issue, and framing it as debatable is a rhetorical ploy to make people who act like it isn’t debatable (we would be talking here about people who think equal civil rights regardless of sexuality or gender identity should be a given) look like they’re “oppressing” others. That’s disingenuous at best.

      I’d be completely in favor of rolling back the Citizens United decision–which was brought to us by the conservative wing of the Supreme Court, just as a friendly reminder–and going back to the days where political donations were more strictly regulated.

  14. Disney should definitely be politically neutral. Stay out of politics. People come to Disney to get away from all that BS, not to hear more about issues!

  15. Politics + corporate $ = government corruption.

    Neutrality by Disney and other media corporations is appropriate.

  16. Thank you for this perspective. My family and I visit Disney World at least 3 times a year and it is a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Political views do not need to supported for either agenda. Everyone can be accepted and enjoy a time with family. I encourage Disney to stay away from all political agendas. Let’s just enjoy Disney and put aside the things that divide us.

  17. Yes. I would love it if we could keep ALL politics out of Disney parks/Company. Being at Disney parks is a complete escape from the outside world. I believe it is completely inclusive of everyone. When the parade music begins, a Princess waves at you, you enter the park and see that majestic castle, watch the absolute wonderment on all children’s faces as see the characters in person that they have seen in all the movies and books they have at home, you are ALL part of the same group. Disney Company has always made sure that the characters remain “in character” at all times even signing the same signature for autographs to ensure that anyone who visits the parks has the SAME experience: Magical! I have been visiting for over 30 years, and I still get teary when the music begins for fireworks at Magic Kingdom . I also never get tired of seeing Mickey. During some of the worst days in my own personal life, I always say, “Let’s go to Disney!” or “Let’s go make some Core Memories at Disney World.” It is an escape from the outside. It is Magic. It should not matter what side you are one when you enter the gates. Disney is inclusive. It always has been. You are not asked at the turnstiles what political party you choose. You are not branded with any letter that represents your sexual orientation. You are not required to wear a t-shirt or hat proclaiming your allegiance to any group. Everyone gets the same greeting: “Have a Magical Day!”
    Walt Disney Company needs to remember what they do, and why we love them. Remember the details. Be special. Being vocal in politics does NOTHING for the Make a Wish kid visiting with their grief stricken family. It does NOTHING for a family of 5 who saved for years to visit the Magic Kingdom. It doesn’t change anything for the gay couple visiting for their honeymoon, because they were of course welcomed anyway.
    Please STOP!!! Don’t ruin Disney Parks too. Keep ALL politics out and get back to making Magic. Finish your rides under construction. Bring back Happily Ever After Fireworks for the LOVE! Get your priorities straight. Nobody walks out of the gates and says, “you know, I really wish Disney World was more politically active.” Enough!

  18. You know in this case it’s really hard to see which way is right as they both have the points. Someone needs to think of a compromise that can help both sides. Write yours down here.

  19. Ditto!
    100% feel Disney should get out of politics and not donate to any cause/group associated with humans. Environment, animal cruelty, and others along those lines should NOT offend any humans regardless of their leanings. Too much of any one push left or right inevitably alienates so many Disney guests and customers. Overall bad politics and bad business practices in my view.

    Just my 2 cents,,

  20. Of course, this it the way to go for Disney. Getting involved in politics will always alienate half of us no matter the issue.

    1. That is incredibly shortsited. He was a businessman, sure, but his ideas were incredibly progressive.

  21. Perfectly said. Signed. I guess I am a bigot if I think any kind of sex Ed is inappropriate for 8 years old and under. I would have thought Disney agreed, but the woke were woke, so Disney flipped. Sad

  22. While I agree, Disney and many other major corporations should refrain from political donations, not speaking out on pretty basic civil rights issues across the country and in the state of Florida will be seen as tacit support of the conservative viewpoint. It’s a pretty historically racist tactic to say things like “Let’s just keep politics out of ______” or “What’s wrong with the way things are/used to be?” The status quo for so many marginalized people was and still is very dehumanizing. It is a pretty nice position to be sitting in where you can completely abstain from politics because things are fairly good for you. Other people just don’t have that luxury, hence why a corporation with such a diverse range of employees has a moral responsibility to speak out against injustice. Which shouldn’t be a partisan issue, but has been morphed into one by the greedy and the powerful. I think a little empathy and a lot of history goes a long way.

  23. Totally agree with this. People go to Disney for a break from the world-not to have reminders of it everywhere. Stay neutral.

    I still believe this is all just a ruse to get rid of chapek. And for the walkout-pretty sure that was an epic failure.

  24. This isn’t an issue of politics, this is an issue of human rights. Your political views do not trump my right to live and work openly and freely as myself without fear of discrimination. The existence of LGBTQ+ folks isn’t open for discussion, we do and always have existed, and always will.

  25. This group who wrote the letter says “Stay out of Politics, company that we work for” – how about you turn that effort onto the Florida and other state legislature that are creating these divisive and frivilous policies? Maybe your efforts should really turn to the politicians that are causing you this “grief”?

    I am glad Disney FINALLY took a stance and began the conversations that they needed to have and kudos to the staff and employees who are further pushing their employer to support them.

    For all the people who support this petition or this way of thinking – I guess its ok when members of the LGBTQI community put on their costumes or serve you a drink at restaurant or entertain you by writing a story or coloring a photo, or stand there and smile while taking a photo with your kid – but when politicians create a problem when NONE EXISTED that denies children/teachers the right to talk about their families (whether their own or others) and equates the idea of having two dads or two moms (or any non traditional one mom + one dad family) as sexual or something that should be shunned (and yes, I read the bill and know what I am talking about), you all blame the people who will be affected and claim YOU ARE THE VICTIMS here? C’mon people…get off the cross, someone else needs the wood.

    Whether its against the black/African Americans, Latinos, women, Asians, the LGBTQ+ community – it is time for people to realize that actions matter and suppport matters. If the legislatures want to “win” political points during an election year by hurting people in their communities, then this is the prize they get. And more companies SHOULD be standing up against this legislation and any legislation that demeans people who put in blood, sweat, and tears for their companies.

    You want Disney to say out of “politics”? Talk to your politicians/representatives and tell them to stop creating hateful and hurtful poliicies that decent companies have no choice but to stand against. How about that?

  26. If they want to be politically neutral, they should not give money to politicians in the first place.

  27. There is too much corporate money involved in politics. They are the ones that gain access and that needs to stop.

  28. Once upon a time, Disney cast members were very neutral in their appearance and behavior. I was told it was because certain looks can offend various cultures that come to visit. Disney was meant to be an escape, a place to just live in the fantasy world where everyone can get along. I understand businesses usually contribute to politics to keep their interests at the forefront, and I’m sure the donations were because of business not moral/personal reasons. At least I hope not. I like the idea of “neutral” Disney.

  29. I agree 100% with this petition. Stay politically neutral. Otherwise, someone will be offended.

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