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Jose Castillo, a current Walt Disney Company employee who is running for Congress in Florida as a Republican, told Fox News Digital that the “silent majority” of Disney employees support the parental rights law H.B. 1557, despite the loud minority leading Disney to take a stance against the law, which critics have branded the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
“There is immense pressure to tow the company line,” Castillo told Fox News Digital. “However, the reality is that those drawing attention to this issue are in the minority. The Disney cast members who support the parental rights defended by HB 1557 far outnumber those who are protesting against it.”
Castillo claimed that “Disney and similar corporations listen to the loudest voices in the crowd,” even though the “silent majority” of employees disagree. “That is why I am standing up for our shared conservative values; to show other conservative cast members like me that we need to speak up and stand strong.”
LGBTQ employees at Disney staged a protest earlier this month in response to what they regarded as an insufficient condemnation of the Florida bill, which prohibits classroom instruction – not casual discussion – on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger, “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Despite critics branding it a “Don’t Say Gay” bill, H.B. 1557 does not ban the word “gay” in school settings. Neither does it ban casual discussions of topics relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in the classroom. It does not require schools to notify parents if their child identifies as gay or transgender.
Disney condemned the bill in an official statement Monday.
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” the statement, posted on the Walt Disney Company’s Twitter page, reads. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to acheive that.”
“We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country,” the statement concluded.
“I think that is a terrible miscalculation because it’s clear that the democratic process produced this law,” Castillo told Fox News Digital. “Floridians, including Disney employees, democratically elected Florida’s state House representatives and state senators, and those elected officials passed this law; and then, thank God, Governor DeSantis signed it into law.”
The Disney employee claimed that the company’s attack on the law “has Disney straying far away from the values that made this company the household name all Americans know and love.”
He cited The Walt Disney Company’s official mission statement, suggesting his employer needs to return to it.
“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to entertain, inform and inspire people around the globe through the power of unparalleled storytelling, reflecting the iconic brands, creative minds and innovative technologies that make ours the world’s premier ‘entertainment’ company,” the statement reads.
Perhaps bolstering Castillo’s argument that a “silent majority” of employees support the law, a group of employees urged Disney to abandon its stance against the Florida law in an open letter, urging the company to adopt a politically neutral stance. Castillo said he was not part of that effort, but he supports it.