Encanto’s Jessica Darrow declares LGBT+ people the ‘face of Disney’ amid ‘Don’t Say Gay’ backlash

Encanto star Jessica Darrow declares LGBTQ people the 'face of Disney'

Encanto star Jessica Darrow has declared the LGBT+ community the “face of Disney” amid controversy over the company’s involvement in Florida’s harmful “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Speaking to Deadline on the Oscars red carpet, Darrow said: “Here I am being queer and gorgeous and I’m on the red carpet, and I’m very happy to represent fellow gorgeous queer people that consume Disney.”

The actor added that the LGBT+ community “are the face of Disney at the end of the day.”

“It’s obviously not right what’s going on, as we continue to uplift our voices and make our cases known, and continue to put out the positive, loving authentic energy that consumes all of us; we are the authentic part of all of this,” she said.

“I’m trying to show up for everyone who may see themselves in a similar position as me, anyone who feels the same way that I do, and I want to let you know that it’s totally OK to be you.”

Jessica Darrow added, to politicians pushing through the bill: “Gay! Gay! Gay! And me so gay! And I love to be gay, that’s what I have to say.”

Disney initially came under fire for donating to politicians backing the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida, which would effectively ban the discussion of LGBT+ lives in classrooms.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek has since apologised and paused donations, however staff members, led by the Disney Do Better group, staged a walk-out in protest in mid-March, suggesting that the company donates to LGBT+ charity The Trevor Project and “reaffirms its commitment to protecting and advocating for LGBT+ staff”.

In an open letter, the group said: “By supporting the politicians who brought this legislation and not taking a public stand against it, Chapek and [The Walt Disney Company] leadership have made it clear they are more than willing to sacrifice their employee’s health and wellness in service of the bottom line.”

Previously, the CEO had suggested that telling “diverse stories” was far more impactful than a statement publicly denouncing the law.

Disney Do Better responded: “Those statements have indicated that leadership still does not truly understand the impact this legislation is having not only on cast members in the state of Florida but on all members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the company and beyond.”