Brian Stelter: Disney is a ‘symbol’ of ‘conservative backlash’ against LGBTQ ‘acceptance’

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CNN host Brian Stelter said Wednesday that Disney has become a “symbol” of “conservative backlash” against “gay and transgender acceptance” in American society.

During a segment on his CNN+ show “Reliable Sources,” Stelter claimed the GOP’s “theme” for the 2022 midterms is to “protect children” from the “dangers” of the Walt Disney Company.

“But Disney is just a stand-in. It’s just a symbol for something bigger: a conservative reaction to the growing acceptance of gay and transgender people. A conservative fear that traditional beliefs are being trampled on. And it there are entire networks programming this fear and many politicians responding to it,โ€ Stelter continued.


The first episode of Brian Stelter’s new streaming show featured original CNN anchor Dave Walker criticizing the network. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN)
(Kevin Mazur)

Moments later, Stelter said Disney’s values โ€‹โ€‹of being “family friendly” and “gay friendly” don’t need to be in conflict. He reduced the company’s criticisms to attempts to “profit from the conflict” and launch a “crusade” in which Disney is described as a company “indoctrinating and sexualizing children through movies and TV shows”.

Stelter then drew attention to a series of leaked Disney videos released by an investigative reporter. The CNN host did not air the videos, but instead described them as clips of business executives talking about “diversity, equity and inclusion” and wishing for more LGBTQ characters on TV and movies.

However, the leaked videos contained much more information than Stelter let on.

Disney's Bob Chapek speaks during the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 Opening Ceremony at ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 8, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.

Disney’s Bob Chapek speaks during the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 Opening Ceremony at ESPN Wide World of Sports on May 8, 2016 in Orlando, Florida.
(Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Invictus)

In a video, Disney executive producer Latoya Raveneau said her team “regularly adds weirdness” to children’s programming. In another, a progressive activist accused Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his publicist Christina Pushaw of trying to “erase” LGBTQ employees, “criminalize their existence” and take away their children.

A third video showed Disney Corporate President Karey Burke telling employees that she would like to see at least 50% of Disney characters in the future identify as LGBTQ or a racial minority.


Stelter then spoke about parental rights in the Education Act. Florida school employees or third parties are prohibited by law from giving “in-class instruction” about “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

In March, Disney CEO Bob Chapek denounced the law as anti-LGBTQ, saying he didn’t immediately take a public stance because he was working “behind the scenes” to voice the company’s complaints to the governor. . Governor DeSantis disputed this account.


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