Leaked video footage purports to show a Disney official bragging about “adding queerness” to children’s programming as the company faced scrutiny and criticism surrounding its initial response to a parental rights bill passed in Florida.
Christopher Rufo, a writer at City Journal, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a conservative activist, obtained video footage from what he described as “Disney’s all-hands meeting about the Florida parental rights bill.” The video was from a March 28 Disney-wide Zoom call.
The bill in question, signed into law by the state’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis earlier this week, prohibits school officials from discussing topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity with students in kindergarten through third grade.
The Walt Disney Company, which operates the popular theme park Walt Disney World based in Orlando, has spoken out intensely against the bill after it faced backlash and protests by LGBT activists and employees who felt the corporation did not take a strong enough stance against the measure initially.
The bill is derided by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill,” but Gov. DeSantis has claimed the political slogan is a “false narrative.”
Rufo shared footage of the “all-hands meeting” on Twitter, where Disney officials purportedly discussed efforts to incorporate LGBT ideology into their programming.
She contended that such a “welcoming” reception gave her the confidence to “have these two characters kiss,” proclaiming that she was “basically adding queerness” to the children’s programming "wherever I could" because “no one would stop me” and “no one was trying to stop me.”
After identifying herself as the mother of “two queer children” and “one transgender child and one pansexual child,” Disney President of General Entertainment Karey Burke touted her efforts to increase LGBT representation in Disney programming.
Burke spoke as the company vowed online to make "50% of regular and recurring characters across Disney General Entertainment scripted content will come from underrepresented groups" by 2022.
She lamented that while Disney has “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories,” the company does not “have enough leads and narratives in which gay characters just get to be characters and not have to be about gay stories.”
In another video, Disney production coordinator Allen March, who works on the animated series “Moon Girl,” talked about how he had developed “a tracker of our background characters to make sure that we have the full breadth of expression.”
Additionally, March illustrated what he viewed as the need for “canonical trans characters, canonical asexual characters, [and] canonical bisexual characters” to have “stories where they can … be their whole selves.”
Another video features Disney Diversity and Inclusion Manager Vivian Ware recalling how “last summer, we removed all of the gendered greetings in relationship to our live spiels.”
“We no longer say ‘ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls’” but instead use phrases like, “Hello, everyone” or “Hello, friends.”
While the video footage primarily consisted of Disney officials elaborating on the company’s overtures to the LGBT community, one video explicitly focused on the Florida parental rights bill.
In the video, Nadine Smith of the advocacy group Equality Florida insisted that “legislative leaders in our state” and Gov. DeSantis want to “erase,” “criminalize” and “demonize” members of the LGBT community. She warned that “the next step is to criminalize you and take your kids.”
The most recent video shared by Rufo features March acknowledging the role that media, including Disney, play in shaping the minds of the next generation.
“All of this content is going to kids, who don’t know any of this,” he said.
March said American children are “getting all of this information from media of what is normal,” adding “there’s a lot of power to that and it just needs to be acknowledged.”
Although the video footage shared by Rufo implies strong support for the LGBT agenda among Disney employees, one Disney staffer insists that is not the case.
Jose Castillo, who serves as a resort duty manager at Disney World, is running to represent Florida’s 9th Congressional District as a Republican.
In an interview with Fox News Thursday, Castillo claimed that a “silent majority” of Disney employees and cast members support the parental rights bill.
“My phone’s been off the hook," Castillo said. “I’ve been getting emails, messages on social media from Disney cast members from all walks of life, all lines of business, telling me, ‘Thank you for standing up. We feel like we don’t have a voice and we’re glad you’re doing this.’”
While Florida’s parental rights bill has come under fire from progressives, a public opinion poll suggests that most Americans agree with the measure’s intent.
A poll of 1,000 registered voters conducted by Public Opinion Strategies from March 25 to March 28 asked respondents if they agreed with the bill that “classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in Kindergarten through third grade.”
Sixty-one percent of respondents supported the bill upon hearing the excerpt, including 55% of Democrats. The poll also found that 67% of Americans view discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity with young students as inappropriate, including a plurality of Democrats (47%).
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org