SNL expertly skewers Disney and Florida governor Ron DeSantis over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

SNL castmate Michael Che during the Weekend Update segment with a picture of Florida alongside the Walt Disney Company logo and a news bulletin about the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill

Saturday Night Live (SNL) slammed Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ cries of “woke” Disney after its pitiful response to the monstrous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Weekend Update hosts Colin Jost and Michael Che first took aim at Disney’s delayed response to the controversial measure, which would ban classroom discussions on LGBT+ issues in a manner that isn’t “age-appropriate”

Disney initially sidestepped speaking out directly against the bill, and it was revealed the Walt Disney Company had donated to several politicians backing the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. 

The media titan has since apologised and paused all political donations to Florida, following severe backlash from LGBT+ advocates and workers. 

The Weekend Update hosts focused on Disney’s sudden flip from half-heartedly opposing the bill to completely cutting off Republican politicians. 

Che referenced Disney’s change of heart as well as claims from a group of LGBT+ Pixar staff who claimed Disney bosses cut “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection” from their films. 

“The company took so long to condemn Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, although, at Disney they actually don’t say ‘gay’, they say ‘Timon and Pumbaa,’” Che said.

The camera quickly panned over to Jost, who spoke out against DeSantis’ criticism of Disney. The Republican governor slammed “woke corporations” like Disney in defence of the bill and “parents’ rights”. 

“Florida governor Ron DeSantis, seen here waving COVID into the club, attacked Disney for opposing the state’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, calling the company a woke corporation,” Jost said. “Disney denied the claim of wokeness with roughly 90 years of cartoons.” 

SNL then showed images of racial stereotypes from the company’s long animated history including DumboThe Jungle Book and Peter Pan

In 2020, Disney announced it would be placing a content advisory notice for racism in classic films uploaded to its Disney Plus streaming service. 

Several films – such as Dumbo, The Aristocats, Peter Pan and Song of the South – include a warning that the programme includes “negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures”. 

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek apologised for the company’s silence in response to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill. He acknowledged in a company-wide email to colleagues that the LGBT+ community “needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights”, and he “let you down”. 

“I missed the mark in this case but am an ally you can count on – and I will be an outspoken champion for the protections, visibility and opportunity you deserve,” Chapek added.