Gabrielle Union appears to criticise Disney’s handling of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill while walking Disney red carpet

·2 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Gabrielle Union bravely appeared to criticise Disney’s handling of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill while walking the red carpet for her new Disney film.

The state of Florida recently passed a controversial piece of legislation, officially named the Parental Rights in Education bill, that restricts schools from teaching students about sexual orientation and gender issues. Should teachers refuse to acknowledge the new rules, they will face lawsuits.

Reports from The Independent and other news organisations revealed that Disney donated tens of thousands of dollars to Republican legislators and state officials who supported the bill, which led Disney CEO Bob Chapek to announce that the company would be “pausing” all political donations in the state.

However, according to a statement from protesting workers, Chapek’s response, in which he apologised for not being “a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights”, failed to “match the magnitude of the threat to LGBTQIA+ safety represented by this legislation”.

Disney employees and LGBTQIA+ advocates have since demanded that the company use its influence to publicly lobby against the legislation, which opponents warn will marginalise and endanger the lives of LGBTQIA+ young people in Florida’s schools.

Union, who stars opposite Zach Braff in a remake of Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, was asked about the bill while attending the film’s premiere on Wednesday (16 March).

The actor, who is stepmother to husband Dwayne Wade transgender daughter Zaya, told The Hollywood Reporter: “I don’t want to say shock because hatred doesn’t shock me at this point. I’ve been a Black woman in America since ’72. Nothing shocks me, but the fear that gripped me because I know what this leads to.

“Every moment in history, there has been this moment. We know how this ends. We know where hate and oppression lead. And it can start now with the LGBTQIA community, but if you think that it’s just a them problem. Oh baby, you’re next.”

Union, who didn’t specifically namecheck Disney, appeared to call out the company while calling on big corporations to resist the bill.

‘We know how this ends:’ Gabrielle Union addresses ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill on Disney red carpet (Getty Images)
‘We know how this ends:’ Gabrielle Union addresses ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill on Disney red carpet (Getty Images)

“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,” Union said.

“You can’t stand against hate and oppression and fund hate and oppression. That doesn’t work. Obviously, our family has a big spotlight. My child is one child. There are countless children who deserve peace and the ability to survive and thrive in this world, just like everybody else. And if you think that your kid isn’t next, you are so sadly mistaken.”