Disney's CEO says the company is a 'lightning rod for clicks' amid its ongoing fight with Ron DeSantis over Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill
- Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, said Disney was a "lightning rod for clicks" amid its long-running dispute with Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis.
- Disney has been involved in a dispute with DeSantis over Florida's "Don't Say Gay" education bill.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek called the company a "lightning rod for clicks" amid its long-running dispute with Florida's Governor Ron DeSantis over the state's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill.
Chapek made the comments during an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, published on September 10.
In the interview, Chapek said that the Walt Disney Company was still committed to representing a "brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves.
He added that he had "stood firm" against political attacks on the company.
He said: "When you're a lightning rod for clicks and for political podium speeches, the essence of our brand can be misappropriated or misused to try to fit the needs of any one particular group's agenda. We want to rise above that."
Disney has been involved in a public dispute with DeSantis over Florida's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill, which bans teachers from encouraging "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels."
In March, Disney executives said in a statement that they would work to repeal the legislation after Disney staff in Florida demanded more action and staged a walkout on March 22.
DeSantis responded by stripping Walt Disney World's self-governing capabilities in the state in April 2022.
On Sunday, DeSantis said he stood by the decision. During a speech at a conservative conference near Miami, he said that his aggressive approach to corporations was a model other Republicans should follow.
Chapek, speaking prior to DeSantis' Sunday speech, said he had remained consistent "during the ultimate barrage of attacks from certain political constituencies." He did not make direct reference to DeSantis.
He added that the company wanted to represent the "needs and the expectations of our cast members."
Representatives for Disney did not immediately respond to Insider's request for further comment, which was made outside normal working hours.
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