Disney CEO Bob Chapek is taking a lot of hits in the wake of Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill being signed into law this past week by Governor Ron DeSantis. Disney was conspicuously quiet in the lead-up to the vote on the bill and Chapek is taking the stance it’s through Disney’s content that the company should make the world a better place for people in the LGBTQ community. While many of Disney’s critics see Chapek’s comments as empty, at least two big Marvel stars are publicly throwing their support behind the CEO — Mark Ruffalo and Vincent D’Onofrio.
This past weekend, Chapek responded to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill’s passing by sending out a company-wide memo titled “Our Unwavering Commitment to the LGBTQ+ Community.” Among other things, the CEO responded to the criticism of Disney’s inaction by writing, “The biggest impact [Disney] can have in creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce.” Chapek also pledged $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign — a donation which the organization refused, stating they would continue to say no thank you to contributions from Disney until the company had shown it would take “meaningful action.” Likewise, a group of employees from Pixar — which is owned by Disney — sent a letter to Disney leadership, claiming that in spite of Chapek’s mention of the company’s “inspiring content,” that Disney executives had been demanding gay-related content be removed from Pixar films for years.
In spite of criticisms from the HRC and Pixar, Marvel star Mark Ruffalo seemed pleased with Chapek’s divisive memo. The actor pulled a quote from the e-mail about Disney supporting the LGBTQ community and answered “Bravo!” and posted a link reporting on the memo. You can see Ruffalo’s tweet below.
Vincent D’Onofrio — who played Wilson Fisk aka Kingpin for three seasons of Daredevil and recently reprised the role for Hawkeye — followed the example of Mark Ruffalo a few hours later. D’Onofrio posted a link to the same article with the caption “This is good.” You can see that tweet below.
It’s possible neither Mark Ruffalo nor Vincent D’Onofrio knew about the issues concerning Chapek’s silence and were simply responding to the supposed support of the LGBTQ community, but if so neither have since clarified their positions. Ruffalo, however, has doubled down on opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” law, and he isn’t the only Disney star to do so. From the Star Wars corner of Disney, Pedro Pascal and Mark Hamill have both used twitter to make it clear where they stand on the issue. You can see those tweets below.
One thing the Pixar employees note in their letter to Disney leadership, which Mark Ruffalo and others may want to read, is that in the past Disney has successfully taken more concrete stances against the passing of discriminatory laws. When Georgia was considering the Religious Liberty Bill in 2016 — which many saw as a way for businesses to legally discriminate against the LGBTQ community — Disney took a much stronger position. The company released a statement making it clear they would take their “business elsewhere” if the law passed. It’s doubtful Disney’s position was the only thing that helped kill the bill, but considering how much filming happens in Georgia, their words were no doubt heard by state lawmakers louder than their “inspiring content.”
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Mark Ruffalo And Another Major Marvel Actor Support Controversial Stance From Disney CEO