Disney CEO Bob Chapek made no apologies for his company's campaign against Republican education reforms in Florida earlier this year, saying Disney "stood our ground" in the incident.
Disney pushed back on Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this year for his push to ban discussion of sexual or gender identity in young students' classrooms. Hollywood celebrities and Disney staff were outraged, dubbing the legislation the "don't say gay" bill. Chapek now says Disney is trying to be "everything to everybody."
"These are complex social issues where we absolutely, positively want to represent the needs and the expectations of our cast members, but we also realize that sometimes in such a divided world, there’s not alignment between what possibly large constituencies of our guest and consumer base are looking for in terms of the kind of content that they want to show their kids at this particular time," Chapek said.
"What we try to do is be everything to everybody. That tends to be very difficult because we’re the Walt Disney Company," he added.
Chapek went on to argue that Disney's conflict with DeSantis had been overly politicized.
"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," he added. "We also realize that we want to represent a brighter tomorrow for families of all types, regardless of how they define themselves."
Chapek apologized to Disney staff in March for not fighting against the Florida legislation hard enough, calling the bill "yet another challenge to basic human rights."
Democrats and members of the media widely misrepresented the legislation throughout this spring, implying or outright claiming that it banned gay or transgender people, or the discussion of them, from schools.
In reality, the legislation bans "classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity" for students in third grade or younger.