Marvel ‘strongly denounces’ attacks on LGBT+ rights as Disney faces ‘Don’t Say Gay’ backlash

Tom Holland as Spider-Man

Marvel Studios has “strongly denounced” anti-LGBT+ legislation as its parent company Disney scrambles to respond to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

Disney has been widely criticised for its (since-halted) political donations to Republicans sponsoring the Florida bill, which would effectively ban discussion of LGBT+ issues in schools, and for its lacklustre response to it. Disney employs 77,000 people in Florida and has considerable political clout in the state.

As Disney back-pedals, Marvel Studios – which was purchased by the media giant in 2009 – released a statement on Tuesday (15 February) denouncing the legislation and copycat bills popping up around the country.

“We strongly denounce any and ALL legislation that infringes on the basic human rights of the LGBTQIA+ community,” Marvel Studios said on Twitter.

“Marvel Studios stands for hope, inclusivity and strength; and we proudly stand with the community.

“Today, we pledge to continue our strong commitment as allies who promote the values of equality, acceptance and respect.”

Marvel has long been criticised for its lack of LGBT+ representation – particularly after a much-feted gay character in Avengers: Endgame appeared for roughly 30 seconds – but recent and upcoming releases are changing that.

Disney has come under fire for donating to politicians involved Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill and for initially refusing to publicly condemn it.

Disney CEO Bob Shapek’s defence was that the company donates to both Republicans and Democrats, and that the company tells “diverse stories” which are “more powerful that any tweet or lobbying effort”.

Chapek later apologised, issuing a company-wide email to colleagues admitting he “let [them] down” on the issue.

CNBC San Diego reported that the email read: “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights, and I 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 said political donations in Florida would be paused.

The controversy comes as a poll suggested that majority of people in the US oppose the harmful bill.

The survey of a nationally-representative sample of 600 Americans, conducted by Ipsos with ABC News, found that six in 10 oppose legislation that would “prohibit classroom lessons about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school”.