Gabrielle Union calls out Disney for funding LGBT+ ‘hate and oppression’ on Disney red carpet

Gabrielle Union on the red carpet at the premiere of Disney's Cheaper By The Dozen

Gabrielle Union has criticised Disney for its response to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, saying: “You should not fund hate and oppression.”

Disney has faced immense backlash for its lacklustre reaction to the bill, which would ban LGBT+ topics in classrooms, and for its political donations to Republicans who helped push the bill through.

Union stars in an upcoming Cheaper by the Dozen remake for Disney Plus, and on the red carpet for the film’s premiere she condemned Disney’s actions.

According to Variety, she said: “Somebody asked me, ‘Are you disappointed?’ I’m disappointed when my order isn’t right at In-N-Out. I don’t even think that’s a word that you could use for something like this, where children’s lives are literally hanging in the balance.

“We need to own that if you truly are taking stands against hate and oppression, you should not fund hate and oppression. Period. The damage is done.”

“There are so many states that are following suit [with Florida’s legislation], because there is no pushback, because no one in positions of power [or] corporations are taking a hard stance,” Union added.

“Let’s look who’s donating to what and let’s call people out… I think a lot of people like to confuse accountability and consequences for cancel culture. And as long as you have a microphone and a stage that’s not cancel culture, honey… We have to campaign and fund for those people who stand for all of us.”

Union, whose step-daughter Zaya Wade is trans, also sent a message to trans kids who are being relentlessly targeted with transphobic legislation across the US.

“There are bad people controlling your fate, but we are working our asses off to make sure that not only do you survive but that you thrive,” she said.

“There are so many more people that are working actively so that you have peace and that you can exist in the same way as everyone else has the ability to exist. We are fighting and we will never stop fighting.

“As long as I have air in my lungs we will not stop fighting for you and I’m not alone in that.”

Disney employees are protesting the company’s inaction on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill by staging walk-outs

Disney initially defended its political donations to those supporting the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, and insisted that the “biggest impact” it could make was by creating “inspiring content”.

Finally, Disney CEO Bob Chapek apologised for the company’s response, saying he had temporarily paused all political donations and would donate $5 million to the Human Rights Campaign. However, the LGBT+ rights charity refused the donation, demanding “meaningful action” against the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.

On Wednesday (16 March), Disney subsidiary Pixar released a statement in which it said: “All of us at Pixar stand with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, friends, families, and fans around the world who are targeted by laws that marginalise and diminish their identities and lives.

“We value authenticity, inclusion, and community, and we denounce the discriminatory bills advancing in states across the country that are harmful to all of us. Everyone deserves love, dignity, respect, and safety.”

It came after a similar statement from Marvel, another Disney brand, and after a group of anonymous Pixar employees claimed Disney routinely cuts moments of “gay affection” from its films.

LGBT+ Disney employees and their allies have been organising as a group named Disney Do Better, releasing an open letter demanding an end to all donations to lawmakers who supported the bill, and staging walk-outs. 

“The LGBTQIA+ community is no stranger to advocating for ourselves – Pride is a protest, after all,” they wrote in their letter.

“Our community in The Walt Disney Company is no different and we will show you how strong we are together.”