Former Disney CEO Iger On Opposing Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' Bill: It's Not 'Political'

Bob Iger explained his stance, saying, "it's about right and wrong."

Former Disney CEO Bob Iger criticized Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill in an interview on CNN+ released Thursday.

“A lot of these issues are not necessarily political,” Iger said. “It’s about right and wrong.”

Iger, who ran Disney from 2005 to 2020, said as CEO he would decide whether to address a contentious issues by assessing the impact on Disney’s employees, shareholders and customers.

“If any one of those three constituencies had deep interest in or would be affected by whatever the matter was at hand, then it was something that I thought we should consider weighing in on,” he told Chris Wallace.

This is not the first time Iger has weighed in on the controversial bill. Iger retweeted President Joe Biden pledging to fight it, on Feb. 25, before Disney’s current CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against it.

“If passed, this bill will put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy,” Iger tweeted.

The bill in question, which allows parents to sue school districts to enforce it, states that classes “by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

Several LGBTQ advocacy groups and families sued Florida over the law Thursday, calling it unconstitutional.

Chapek came under fire for initially refusing to take a stance on the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. In his first memo addressing the bill on March 7, Chapek said Disney had an opportunity to create change through producing “inspiring content” and said taking a side on the issue would result in the company becoming a “political football in any debate.”

Disney CEO Bob Chapek attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, California.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek attends the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood and Highland on March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, California.
Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images

He was then forced to u-turn on his silence, issuing another statement on March 11 apologizing to employees and announcing the company was pausing all political donations in Florida.

On Monday, after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed the bill into law, Disney pledged to support efforts to get it repealed.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed "Don't Say Gay" bill, flanked by elementary school students during a news conference on March 28, 2022, at Classical Preparatory school in Shady Hills.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis displays the signed "Don't Say Gay" bill, flanked by elementary school students during a news conference on March 28, 2022, at Classical Preparatory school in Shady Hills.
Douglas R. Clifford/Tampa Bay Times via Associated Press

“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,” a Disney statement reads.

Iger didn’t directly criticize Chapek, Wallace said in a segment with CNN’s New Day previewing the release of the interview.

Disney has taken sides on socio-political issues before. In January 2021, the company said it would suspend political donations to those who voted against certifying Joe Biden’s election win in the 2020 election and also threatened to stop filming movies in Georgia in 2016 in response to the state’s anti-gay bill, which was eventually vetoed by then Gov. Nathan Deal.

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