The MCU has recently taken strides to improve its representation, with Eternals having showcased the first LGBTQIA+ relationship in the universe. This representation only looks set to grow with Thor: Love and Thunder's Valkyrie and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever's Okoye reportedly set to enter LGBTQIA+ relationships in the near future.
As this happens in the MCU, Florida recently passed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law that will ban public schools from mentioning gender identity or sexual orientation. With Disney housing much of its operations in the Sunshine State, employees and fans were expecting the family-focused organization to oppose the legislation.
After Disney CEO Bob Chapek opted to remain silent on the matter, many employees staged a walkout in opposition to the stance. Since then, former CEO Bob Iger has spoken out against his self-appointed successor, calling to a question of "right and wrong."
Marvel Studios similarly shared its opposition to the anti-LGBTQIA+, placing Chapek on the wrong side of a losing battle. As backlash surrounding the company's lack of action continues, a Marvel Studios executive revealed that she sat down with Chapek to discuss the situation.
Marvel Studios President Conferred With Disney CEO
After taking to the stage to accept the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film for Eternals, Marvel Studios boss Victoria Alonso discussed the recent controversy surrounding Florida's anti-LGBTQIA+ "Don't Say Gay" bill. Variety transcribed the comments in which Alonso shared details of her recent conversation with Disney CEO Bob Chapek regarding the backlash.
Marvel Studios' President of Physical, Post Production, VFX, and Animation described recent weeks as a "sad event" for members of the LGBTQIA+ community working at Disney. Alonso revealed she asked Chapek for "courage" in a 45-minute conversation:
“If you are a member of the LGBTQIA community, and you work at the Walt Disney Company, the last two or three weeks have been a sad event. I’ve asked Mr. Chapek for courage in a 45-minute sit-down”
The Marvel producer asked Chapek to "take a stand" and the "crazy outdated laws," making note of Disney's focus on creating entertainment for families:
“I asked him to look around and truly if what we sell is entertainment for the family, we don’t choose what family. Family is this entire room. Family is the family in Texas, in Arizona, in Florida, and in my family, in my home. So I ask you again Mr. Chapek: please respect—if we’re selling family—take a stand against all of these crazy outdated laws. Take a stand for family."
The Marvel Studios President went on to discuss her own experiences as an LGBTQIA+ woman herself, calling for Chapek to rethink his stance on the matter and sharing her opposition to the frequent use of the term "tolerate:"
"Stop saying that you tolerate us—nobody tolerates me, let me tell you that. You tolerate the heat in Florida, the humidity in Arizona or Florida, and the dryness in Arizona and Texas. And you tolerate a tantrum in a two-year-old. But you don’t tolerate us. We deserve the right to live, love, and have. More importantly, we deserve an origin story.”
Marvel Studios Takes a Stand for the LGBTQIA+
Just two years into his tenure as Disney's CEO, Bob Chapek has been heavily criticized for remaining silent on the matter, with even his predecessor in Bob Iger being quick to condemn the bill. Given Disney's place as a massive employer in Florida, the House of Mouse's stance on major legal changes could be an influential one.
Disney has always been such a family-focused brand with content targeted at kids, adults, and really the entire world. So, having such a mixed stance on anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation is well-beyond off-brand for the company and appears to be hurting Chapek greatly in the public eye.
Despite Disney's overall stance, Marvel Studios has taken a powerful stand against Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill in recent weeks. Between statements from Moon Knight's Oscar Issac, a post on the studio's official Twitter account, and comments from several major executives, Marvel Studios is clearly strongly opposed to the legislation.
Only time will tell if Chapek changes his public position on the matter, but with Iger and many major executives opposing his stance, he may well be forced to. Hollywood is rife with speculation that Chapek may soon be ousted as CEO to make way for a replacement, and this could well be the killing blow for his Disney career.