Queer Moana star Auli’i Cravalho challenges Disney to ‘step up and say what’s right’

Auli'i Cravalho attends the 33rd Annual GLAAD Media Awards in 2022

Moana‘s Auli’i Cravalho has become the latest Disney star to speak out against the reviled Don’t Say Gay law as she denounced the company’s mishandling of the Floridian bill.

The Walt Disney Company faced widespread criticism for initially refusing to speak against the legislation, and for cutting cheques to Republicans who backed it.

CEO Bob Chapek then backtracked and paused all political donations in Florida, with the company now “committed” to striking down the reviled legislation.

Cravalho, who found fame as the voice of Disney princess Moana in 2016, has now stressed the importance of major companies using their power to fight for representation rather than “play it safe”.

Bob Chapek speaks on stage in a suit

Disney CEO Bob Chapek. (Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

“We know that representation is important, [but] real life is bills and laws being pushed forward by lawmakers that are directly funded by corporations,” the bisexual actress told IndieWire. “It’s important that they be on the right side of history and listen. Instead of trying to play the safe role and take a step back, take a step forward.”

The 21-year-old continued: “Step up. Step up and say what’s right and what’s wrong. And say ‘gay’ for god’s sakes, people are gay. People are gay. If you didn’t know by now, now you know.”

The Crush star added: “Representation is important. And I truly believe that putting your money where your mouth is important as well. And to speak directly about the Disney of it all, to have the individuals stand up against a corporation is what needed to happen, unfortunately.

The actress stated that it was “important that the corporations behind the films that have the power, that have the money, truly help the communities” through actions and not just words.

“I am bisexual, and there are only words that I can speak in support of trans lives and people of colour. And I can put my money where my mouth is as well, but corporations truly have the most impact right now,” she added.

Her comment comes after Disney insisted that it was committed to fighting the bill after the controversial legislation – known as the Parental Rights in Education bill – was written into law by US politicians in Florida.

The move led to Governor Ron DeSantis asking lawmakers to eliminate Disney’s unique status in Florida after the company opposed his law.

Meanwhile, leaked meeting notes revealed that the company is aiming for 50 per cent of its TV characters to be from underrepresented groups such as the LGBT+ community and people of colour.