John Oliver slammed Disney CEO Bob Chapek for his “actively insulting” response to Florida’s contentious “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The comedian began Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” by remarking that it had been a “bleak few weeks for the LGBTQ community,” and then went on to explain the complexities of Florida’s bill, concluding that “it’s not about sex at all — it’s about denying the existence of gay people.”
The Florida bill would prohibit teachers from discussing topics such as sexual orientation or gender identity with students until they reached the third grade.
Over the past two weeks, Disney’s Chapek has wavered on commenting, first remaining silent on the bill and later revealing that Disney had been actively fighting the bill behind the scenes after it was revealed that Disney had previously made political donations to lawmakers supporting the bill.
“When we donate money to different political candidates, we have no idea how they’re going to vote going forward into the future,” Chapek explained at a shareholders meeting last week.
“That is such nonsense,” Oliver said on his show Sunday. “It’s actively offensive because that’s not how donating works.” When you give money, you usually know what the recipient will do with it. That is why people donate to ‘Feeding America,’ rather than ‘Feeding America Or Perhaps Taking Food Away From America.'”
Chapek made his statement in response to criticism that Disney had donated to Florida state Sen. Dennis Baxley, one of the main sponsors of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign into law.
“Disney should have had a pretty good idea how Dennis Baxley would vote when they gave him money,” Oliver responded, “given that he’s not been shy about sharing his views on a variety of topics.”
Oliver showed a video of Baxley meeting with constituents and warning them, “I know some districts where there’s a big infestation of homosexuals pushing their agenda.”
John Oliver of HBO slammed Disney CEO Bob Chapek for his reaction to Florida’s contentious “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the company’s political contributions.
Oliver remarked on Baxley’s use of the word “infestation.” The TV host described its use as “disgusting,” then turned to Chapek, whom he referred to as a “business thumb.”
The comedian mocked Chapek’s claim that the company’s “diverse stories,” such as “Encanto” and “Black Panther,” are “more powerful than any tweet or lobbying effort.”
“That is obviously nonsense,” Oliver pointed out.
The segment concluded with the host dismissing Chapek’s apology from last Friday and Disney suspending political donations in Florida pending an investigation.
“Marginalized creators have made billions of dollars for Disney,” he concluded. Should it now embarrass them that it took them until this week to realize that they shouldn’t take that money and actively undermine the interests of those creators? Who are we to judge? I’ll tell you right now: I am.” (In Disney’s remake of “The Lion King,” Oliver provided the voice of Zazu.)
DeSantis has defended the bill, claiming that it is not about discrimination, but rather about ensuring that no “sexual instruction” is given to young students.
“How many parents want their kids to have transgenderism or something injected into classroom instruction when the bill says ‘no sexual instruction to kids pre-K through three?'” According to CBS News, DeSantis stated.
“It’s basically saying, do you really want our younger students to be taught about sex?” “And this is any sexual material,” he added. “But I think there is a clear focus right now on transgenderism, telling kids they may be able to choose genders and all of that.”