(NEXSTAR) — A group of queer Pixar employees are urging parent company Disney to deliver on CEO Bob Chapek’s claims that Disney supports the LGBTQ+ community through its “inclusive” content. In a letter obtained by Variety, the group says despite Chapek’s words, Disney executives have demanded cuts of “nearly every moment of overtly gay affection” in Pixar films.
Chapek made the statement Monday, after Disney faced continually mounting pressure to take a stand against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which will become law once Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signs it.
House Bill 1557, called the Parental Rights in Education bill, will not only prevent teachers from discussing LGBTQ+ issues in K-3rd grade classrooms, it allows parents/guardians to sue teachers and/or schools who discuss these topics.
Disney, which earns dozens of billions per year from its theme parks, has been prodded to denounce the bill due to its economic and cultural impact in the state. The situation became stickier after financial reports showed Disney donated to sponsors of HB 1557.
From there, Chapek made several more comments that rang hollow for many, including the Pixar employees who authored the recent letter.
The letter, signed by “the LGBTQIA+ employees of Pixar & their allies,” claims Disney execs have demanded cuts to same-sex affection in Pixar films whether there have been complaints or not.
Moreover, employees explain Disney didn’t officially host Pride events until 2019 – despite Chapek saying Disney parks have a “long history” of Pride celebrations – and that the company produces and profits from LGBTQ+ merchandise but “steps back” when that community’s rights are in danger.
Employees also write that Chapek said in an official company memo on Monday that “corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” but that the memo itself begins with a corporate statement on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
On Monday, Chapek vowed the company would donate $5 million to LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the Human Rights Campaign. HRC announced Tuesday, however, it would decline the donation “until meaningful action is taken.”
The letter further reads:
“We at Pixar have personally witnessed beautiful stories, full of diverse characters, come back from Disney corporate reviews shaved down to crumbs of what they once were. Even if creating LGBTQIA+ content was the answer to fixing the discriminatory legislation in the world, we are being barred from creating it.”
The employees are now calling on Disney leadership to withdraw financial support from legislators behind the bill.
Disney and Pixar representatives did not immediately respond for comment.