Disney CEO Bob Chapek is having a rough few months. In March, when Florida passed HB 1557, otherwise known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Chapek chose not to issue a public statement. “I do not want anyone to mistake a lack of a statement for a lack of support” for Disney’s LGBTQ+ employees, he said later by way of explanation. And yet that’s exactly what happened.
Employees were rightfully disappointed and outraged; they staged a series of coordinated protests, including a walkout, and issued a list of demands. Chapek eventually changed his stance, and in doing so traded employee pressure for official retaliation. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appears to be turning the entire force of the state government against Disney. (Paradigm has previously worked with Disney.)
Chapek’s challenge—how to show support for vulnerable employees without inviting attacks from the outside—is one many leaders are experiencing right now following the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion that seemed to show the court is on the brink of overturning federal protection for abortion rights.
It is hard to overstate the impact of this decision if it goes forward as drafted. Many, including me, have raised concerns about what the demise of Roe v. Wade means not only for people who can become pregnant, but also for others whose rights could similarly be done away with based on the court’s whims.