CEO Bob Chapek announced that Disney was suspending its political donations in Florida due to the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and he apologized for the company’s previous silence on the issue.
In reaction to the announcement, Sonja Spoo, director of Reproductive Rights campaigns at UltraViolet, a leading gender justice organization, issued the following statement: “It is long past time that Disney paused its political contributions to radical right-wing politicians pushing a vicious anti-LGBTQ and anti-woman agenda so contrary to the company’s stated values. But simply pausing donations to all politicians instead of the ones pushing this radical agenda – embodied by the Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and 15 week abortion ban – misses the point. “Disney is the second largest funder of anti-abortion politicians in Florida, with more than $166,000 in political donations to Florida lawmakers. Company leadership is well aware of what Disney’s political contributions support, but did nothing, Disney is funding legislation that will actively harm their own employees and consumers alike. They must do more than just pause donations, they should demand money that they gave to these radical politicians be returned, and subsequently donated to people supporting women and the LGBTQ+ community. “If Disney paid attention to the political stances of who it gave to, it would have seen this coming. Abortion is a bellwether issue that often also indicates a politician’ssupport for other extreme and dangerous bills aimed at rolling back basic rights including bills that further restrict the Civil Rights for LGBTQ+ people and people of color. If you support abortion bans – you are more likely to support attacks on LGBTQ+ kids and more likely to support measures to disenfranchise Black, Indigenous, and other people of color at the ballot box. The legislation passed in Florida are more examples of how these sorts of cruel bills move together and reinforce one another—and how they are all supported by the same people. ”“Disney took an important first step today, but this should only be the beginning. Disney and other companies must evaluate their political stances of who they give to – and start to make decisions aligned with their values, and the real values of the American people.” According to a new report from UltraViolet, a leading national gender justice organization, Disney was the third largest contributor to elected officials in Florida who support the State’s 15-week abortion ban, HB 5. According to UltraViolet’s analysis, 69% of Disney’s political donations went to anti-abortion lawmakers in Florida, totalling $166,100 in contributions.
READ THE FULL MEMO FROM ULTRAVIOLET HERE: https://bit.ly/UV_FLcontributions
More than two-thirds of political contributions from the six highest-spending companies in Florida support politicians who oppose abortion. Among consumer-facing companies, top contributors to anti-abortion politicians are Comcast (first), Walt Disney (second), and AT&T (sixth). Since the 2019 midterm elections, Fortune 250 companies have given these same politicians $1.3 million. Companies that contributed more than $100,000 to right-wing anti-abortion candidates were Comcast, Walt Disney, and HCA Healthcare. UltraViolet’s research also reveals that some of the largest U.S. companies helped elect state legislators who went on to sponsor the wave of anti-abortion laws passed in 2021. A total of 111 Fortune 250 companies gave $5.4 million to these politicians in 16 states. Companies gave the most to sponsors of new restrictions in Texas ($3 million), followed by Ohio ($778,000), Tennessee ($351,000), and Oklahoma ($342,000). The top contributors were AT&T, Charter Communications, Berkshire Hathaway, UnitedHealth and American Electric Power (AEP).