Gay Marvel boss calls out Disney CEO: ‘Take a stand’

Side by side images of Marvel Studios' Victoria Alonso and Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Gay Marvel Studios executive Victoria Alonso had some choice words with Disney CEO Bob Chapek regarding anti-LGBT+ legislation across the US. 

Alonso revealed that she had a “45-minute sitdown” with Chapek while accepting the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Film” for Eternals on Saturday (2 April), Deadline reported. 

She described how the “last two or three weeks” have been a “sad event” for LGBT+ staffers at Disney. Alonso said she had asked Chapek to “take a stand” against “all of these crazy outdated” anti-LGBT+ bills being debated in state legislatures across the US. 

The company faced immense backlash for its tepid response to Florida’s reviled ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, prompting mass walkouts by LGBT+ Disney employees and supporters. Disney has since “committed” to repealing the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill after it was signed into law by governor Ron DeSantis in March. 

Alonso said she asked Chapek to fight on behalf of the LGBT+ community as “what we sell is entertainment for the family” and “we don’t choose what family”. 

“Family is this entire room,” Alonso said. “Family is the family in Texas, in Arizona, in Florida, and in my family, in my home.”

She continued: “So I ask you again Mr Chapek: Please respect — if we’re selling family — take a stand against all of these crazy outdated laws.

“Take a stand for family. Stop saying that you tolerate us — nobody tolerates me, let me tell you that.”

The Marvel Studios executive said that people “tolerate the heat in Florida”; the “humidity in Arizona or Florida”; the “dryness in Arizona and Texas”; or even a “tantrum in a two-year-old”. 

“But you don’t tolerate us,” Alonso said. “We deserve the right to live, love, and have. More importantly, we deserve an origin story.”

She also encouraged others to “stop being silent” in the fight for LGBT+ rights, describing silence as “death” and “poison”. Alonso also promised that she will “fight for representation for all of us” as long as she is at Marvel Studios. 

“But if you don’t stand up, if you don’t fight, if you don’t give your money, if you don’t vote, then all we can do is have a party and be gay,” Alonso said. “Fight, fight, fight!”

GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis also appealed to the industry to take action and fight on behalf of the LGBT+ community, according to the Hollywood Reporter.  

Ellis warned that organisations shouldn’t wait to support the LGBT+ community “in this moment of crisis” as “our community is holding companies accountable”. 

“So I have a message for the industry: Don’t wait until you’re in the hot seat,” Ellis said. “There’s no more time to sit on the sidelines.” 

Ellis said the LGBT+ community needs “Hollywood on the front lines, fighting for our rights and telling our stories”. 

The GLAAD president asked the industry to “commit to improving the quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ images – especially in kids and family programming”. Additionally, Ellis called on media platforms, companies and celebrities to “speak out against anti-LGBTQ legislation in favour of rights like the Equality Act”.