A Walt Disney Company employee and Florida congressional candidate made a fascinating claim Wednesday, telling Fox News he believes the majority of Disney employees agree with his state’s parental rights law, which Disney has openly criticized and vowed to fight.
In fact, Jose Castillo told the outlet he believes a “silent majority” of his fellow staffers agree with the Parental Rights in Education bill (HB 1557), which critics and the media have vociferously dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”
“There is immense pressure to toe the company line. However, the reality is that those drawing attention to this issue are in the minority,” Castillo told Fox. “The Disney cast members who support the parental rights defended by HB 1557 far outnumber those who are protesting against it.”
Polling has also shown the majority of likely Democratic primary voters in Florida also agree with the law.
As Faithwire previously reported, the word “gay” doesn’t appear in the text, with the law, in practice, banning educators from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation from pre-K through third grade. It’s not clear who actually coined the slang term for the bill, which curiously became widely adopted.
Disney has joined the ranks of activists dubbing the parental rights law the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” and has pledged to try and see it overturned, sparking a war of words with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R).
Castillo, who is running as a Republican for Florida’s 9th Congressional seat, said he is standing up for the “silent majority” who disagree with Disney’s reaction, which he attributed to the company listening to the “loudest voices in the crowd.” He also told Fox he believes Disney’s efforts are a “miscalculation.”
“I think that is a terrible miscalculation because it’s clear that the democratic process produced this law,” Castillo said.
His comments are the latest in the ongoing chaos surrounding the parental rights law, which goes into effect in July. Disney at first remained quiet on the bill months and weeks ago when the news was still percolating, with CEO Bob Chapek taking heat for refusing to repudiate it. Then, after pressure mounted, Disney apologized and went all in.
Now, the company is pledging to help efforts to repeal the law, releasing a statement March 28 that digs its heels in on the matter.
“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,” Disney said. “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 achieve that.”
Castillo’s comments also came as videos leaked purporting to show at least one Disney staff member making proclamations about inserting “queerness” into the company’s content.
Reporting by Faithwire.