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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 a rising cohort of his fellow Disney “cast members” are speaking out against the company’s decision to vocally oppose the Florida parental rights law.
“There is certainly pressure mounting within Disney,” Castillo told Fox News Digital, adding that “at some point I believe Disney executives will have to respond.”
Castillo previously told Fox News Digital that a “silent majority” of Disney employees support the parental rights law H.B. 1557, even though the company has taken a public stance against it after LGBTQ employees protested. Despite critics branding it a “Don’t Say Gay” law, it does not ban the word “gay” in school settings. Rather, it 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.”
Castillo spoke with Fox News after another Disney “cast member” – the company’s preferred term for employees – leaked screenshots of internal message boards showing that many cast members actually support the Florida law, including some who identified themselves as gay.
“I’m gay and I think any form of sexual education shouldn’t be taught until you’re older and able to understand it,” one employee wrote, according to the screenshots, which Human Events’ Jack Posobiec shared on Twitter. The cast member added, “leave the bill alone because it isn’t infringing on ANY member of the LGBT community, nor is it to the heterosexual one.”
“Let children be children,” another cast member reportedly wrote.
“I can’t speak to those specific messages, but they sound exactly like what I am hearing from my fellow cast members,” Castillo told Fox News Digital. “And since I began speaking out on this, I’ve been getting phone calls and emails from other cast members here in Orlando and even out in California. The cast members reach out to thank me for speaking up, to donate to my campaign, and to offer their support, so it doesn’t surprise me at all to see those message board screenshots.”
“I have been saying that, while the Disney executives have been greasing the squeaky wheel, there is a silent majority of us that don’t agree with Disney’s statements,” he added.
Castillo also referenced recent comments from Ray Keating, an economist and editor of DisneyBizJournal.com, to Fox Business. Keating urged Disney CEO Bob Chapek to “get back to business, that is, excellence in storytelling, and stop wasting shareholders’ money on political crusades that have nothing to do with Disney’s business.”
“I think that the leaked message boards and the shareholder statement not only confirm what I’ve been saying, but show that the silent majority is starting to make some noise,” the cast member added. “I would expect this to continue.”
Castillo insisted that it is not too late for Disney to undo the damage.
“I do believe there is time for them to walk this back,” he told Fox News Digital. “Disney once set out to be the world’s most admirable company. They can still do this, but it requires some humility, and an admission that they were wrong to push out divisive rhetoric and wrong to purport to speak for all of us.”
“If they want to speak in a unified voice on behalf of the company, they should seek to do so by standing for universal values, not the values of the fringe left,” Castillo concluded.