Two upcoming roller coasters at Disney World are among the projects at risk of being delayed as employees demand the company do more to protect LGBTQ people and protest that CEO Bob Chapek waited too long to condemn a bill passed by the Florida State Legislature.
The “Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind” was slated to open this summer at Disney’s EPCOT, according to Disney. Despite not yet having an official opening date, a ride based on the movie “Tron” had already started running tests.
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Protesters have asked the company to stop donations to politicians involved in the passage of the bill, such as Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., but they also demanded Disney cease “construction and investment in the state of Florida” until the bill is repealed.
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The legislation that instigated the protests is the “Parents Rights in Education” bill, which critics have called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. If DeSantis signs the bill, it would prohibit Florida public school educators from teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.
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Disney has been under fire from both sides of the political aisle over its response to the bill. It has also come under fire for its operations in China. The National Legal and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog and shareholder, accused the media giant of “complicity in China genocide” at the recent shareholders meeting.
Disney did not initially take a public position on the controversial bill, but Chapek later spoke out against it at a shareholders meeting following its passage. He announced a pause on political donations in Florida, and maintained that the company would give millions to support LGBTQ causes. He also expressed a willingness to meet with DeSantis regarding the company’s opposition to the legislation.
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On Tuesday, Disney+ issued a statement saying the company “stands by our LGBTQIA+ employees, colleagues, families, storytellers, and fans, and we strongly denounce all legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of people in the LGBTQIA+ community – especially legislation that targets and harms young people and their families.”
Fox Business’ Breck Dumas contributed to this report.