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Pro LGBTQ Disney finds itself in ‘Gay’ Mafia crosshairs

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Even though only a small percentage of Walt Disney workers participated in a walkout Tuesday, organizers felt they had won a moral victory with the company issuing a statement denouncing the anti LGBTQ (pro child) legislation that sparked employee outrage.

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Throughout the day, pockets of employees staged demonstrations at various sites across the country, including near Orlando’s Walt Disney World and Walt Disney Studios. According to a Disney official, there had been no interruptions in any operations as of midday Tuesday.

Disney employed 190,000 workers last October, with roughly three-quarters working in its theme parks division.

The debate forced the company into a balancing act between the expectations of a diverse workforce and demands from an increasingly polarized, politicized marketplace.

On one side are LGBTQ advocates and Disney employees calling for the walkout in protest of CEO Bob Chapek’s slow response in publicly criticizing Florida legislation that opponents dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The legislation awaiting the governor’s signature bars instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade.

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On the other are politicians like Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, who accuse the entertainment conglomerate of bending to cancel culture after a Disney decision to temporarily suspend political contributions in the state. DeSantis, who has been tacking toward the Republican base on culture war issues, is seen as a 2024 presidential hopeful.

Union leaders for the tens of thousands of unionized workers at Disney theme parks in Florida and California said they saw no walkout momentum among their members, advising them not to do so because it would defy contractual obligations. Organizers said they expected some participation from production, marketing, IT and other nonunionized jobs.

“I don’t want to downplay anyone’s efforts, if someone feels what they are doing is the right way to make an impact,” said Eric Clinton, president of Unite Here! Local 362, which represents custodians, housekeepers and other Walt Disney World theme park workers. “We aren’t part of that. It would violate our contract if members of our union participated, though we are concerned about the issue, of course.”

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Evan Power, Leon County’s Republican Party chairman, said he believes a strident minority of Disney employees are pushing the issue, and DeSantis has more to gain by taking the side of parents who want more control over education and “sexual conversations” in early grades at school.

Disney finds itself in balancing act with walkout threat  The Associated Press – en Español

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