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Oscar Isaac is sharing his thoughts on Disney’s response to Florida’s controversial “Parental Rights in Education” law, which imposes restrictions on classroom instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation topics, and has been dubbed by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
In an interview for The New York Times published Monday, the Moon Knight star was asked whether the backlash against Disney’s handling of this bill — which has included LGBTQ employees separating themselves from company culture and publicly criticizing CEO Bob Chapek, staging walkouts, and appealing to leadership in private — has affected him personally, considering his position as a prominent ambassador of Disney’s brand.
Isaac commented that everything has a “political undercurrent” at the moment. “Disney was forced to take a stand, and I’m glad that they took the right stand there. Sometimes silence or neutrality is just not going to work.”
The actor, 43, went on to say that he grew up in Florida and recognizes “how dysfunctional the state is.” He added: “But it’s an interesting time where everything is parsed, and if Disney is going to own so much of the entertainment industry, they’ve got to expect to come up against some tough decisions.”
Going forward, Isaac said that while he will be conscientiousness about his choices whenever he works for a major studio, he will mostly continue to focus on “figuring out a good character.” The actor said, “I just want to make good stuff and hopefully try to do it in a responsible way.”
In early March, Chapek told company staff that he initially didn’t release a statement on the bill because “they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame.” He later shared that Disney would be pausing political donations in the state. “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” he said in a memo at the time.
Among those who have spoken out against the bill is former Disney CEO and chairman Bob Iger, who joined anchor Chris Wallace on his CNN+ interview series in March to comment that the bill “just seemed so wrong” and that it could be “potentially harmful” to kids.
Last Week Tonight host John Oliver slammed Chapek’s response to the bill, calling the time period a “bleak few weeks for the LGBTQ community” and describing statements coming from Disney defending its political donations as “actively insulting.” He explained that in the last two years, Disney has donated nearly $300,000 to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans backing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Elsewhere, actor Gabrielle Union called for corporations to step up. “If you’re going to take a stand and be all about diversity and inclusion — and it’s not just about black boxes after George Floyd died — you need to actually put your money where your mouth is,” said the actor on a recent red carpet outing, not naming Disney specifically.
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