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Disney’s returning CEO Bob Iger has expressed the importance of LGBTQ+ stories after the company’s high profile ‘Don’t Say Gay’ controversy. 

Back in March, Florida governor Ron DeSantis signed the horrific Parental Rights in Education bill into law after it was passed by conservative lawmakers in the House and Senate.

Under the harmful bill, teachers and schools are barred from discussing “sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

In the weeks leading up to DeSantis signing the bill, LGBTQ+ advocates denounced the legislation while also highlighting its political sponsors and the companies backing the legislation. 

One of the companies to come under fire was Disney – due to their silence and past donations to the bill’s sponsors.

In response to the revelation, the company released a blanket statement supporting the LGBTQ+ community but not denouncing the horrific bill – which resulted in backlash from activists and employee walkouts.

In the wake of the controversy, Disney’s CEO at the time – Bob Chapek – released an apology for the company’s lack of action and pledged that they would “increase their support” for the LGBTQ+ community.

A few months after Chapek’s apology, it was announced that he was relieved of his post as the head of Disney and Iger – who left his CEO position in 2020 – would be stepping back into the role (per The New York Times). 

While some fans have welcomed the return of the former ABC president, others have wondered if he would follow through with the company’s promise to be more LGBTQ+ inclusive. 

During an employee town hall meeting on 28 November, Iger revealed that LGBTQ+ stories would continue to be featured in future Disney projects. 

“This company has been telling stories for 100 years, and those stories have a had a meaningful, positive impact on the world, and one of the reasons they have had a meaningful, positive impact is because one of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, and we can’t lose that,” he revealed (per Variety). 

“How we actually change the world through the good must continue. We’re not going to make everyone happy all the time, and we’re not [going to] try to. We’re certainly not going to lessen our core values in order to make everyone happy all the time.”

Towards the end of his statement, Iger shut down conservative critics who claim that Disney is being “political” for releasing diverse projects like Strange World and Lightyear. 

“I don’t think when you are telling stories and attempting to be a good citizen of the world that that’s political,” he said.