Host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver, is known for pulling no punches when it comes to standing up to major corporations.
On Sunday, March 13, the former “The Daily Show” correspondent took aim at Disney CEO Bob Chapek, calling his comments about Florida’s polarizing “Don’t Say Gay” bill “actively insulting.”
John Oliver Accuses Disney’s Bob Chapek Of Being ‘Active Insulting’
Last week, Deadline reported that Disney CEO Bob Chapek tried to defend his company by saying “When we donate money to different political candidates, we have no idea how they’re going to vote going forward into the future” at a shareholders meeting.
However, Oliver absolutely wasn’t buying it. Oliver called his comments “such bull—-” and “actively insulting.”
“It is actively insulting, because it’s just not how donating works,” he explained. “When you donate money, you generally know what the recipient is going to do with it. That is why people donate to ‘Feeding America’ and not ‘Feeding America Or Maybe Taking Food Away From America.’”
John Oliver Explains That Bob Chapek Had ‘A Pretty Good Idea’ Of How The Money Would Be Used
JUST IN: Disney CEO Bob Chapek just said the company is pausing and “reviewing” all political donations after massive backlash for their silence on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill. Since 2020, 80%+ of Disney’s donations have gone to Republicans, including every sponsor of the bill.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) March 11, 2022
Disney has been heavily criticized for donating to Florida senator Dennis Baxley, who is one of the primary sponsors of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The bill, known officially as the Parental Rights in Educational bill, prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms.
According to the bill, these lessons, “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.” This bill will allow parents to sue the school or individual teachers if they believe these discussions have been had. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed support for the bill and it is widely believed that he will sign it into law once it passes his desk.
In a new email to employees, Disney CEO Bob Chapek apologizes for the company’s “silence” regarding Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill:
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.” pic.twitter.com/4px8AQbFhS
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) March 11, 2022
“Disney should absolutely have had a pretty good idea how Dennis Baxley would vote when they gave him money, given that he’s not been shy about sharing his views on a host of topics,” Oliver said. He quoted one report by the Florida Sun-Sentinel, where Baxley once suggested that “abortion is causing Europeans to be replaced by immigrants and [is] paving the way for the end of Western civilization.”
In a separate piece from NBC News, Oliver also brought up how “as recently as 2020, he joined others in supporting bills to repeal protections of LGBTQ workers and legalize gay conversion therapy.”
John Oliver Roasts ‘Disgusting’ Video Of Florida Senator Dennis Baxley
After facing criticism for his initially tepid response to Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that the company will pause all political donations in the Sunshine State. pic.twitter.com/OQPZSsnlUa
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 11, 2022
Oliver also played a video of Baxley meeting with several constituents, where he can be heard saying, “I know some districts where there’s a big infestation of homosexuals that are pushing their agenda.”
Oliver said his terminology – “a big infestation of homosexuals” – as “disgusting.”
Although Chapek said that Disney’s diverse stories – such as Marvel’s Black Panther and the recent animated Encanto – are “more powerful than any tweet or lobbying effort,” Oliver wasn’t having it.
“For all Chapek’s self-congratulation about how movies like Black Panther can instigate change, that change clearly has its limits given that just this week the movie’s director, Ryan Coogler, had been handcuffed by police while trying to withdraw money from his own bank account,” Oliver pointed out.
“Marginalized creators have made billions of dollars for Disney,” he continued. “Should it embarrass them that it took them until this week to realize that they shouldn’t take that money and use it to actively undermine those creators’ interests? Who’s to say?”
“I’ll tell you,” he concluded. “Me.”
Those looking to learn more about this polarizing issue can watch the full 30-minute segment below.