Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Disney CEO Bob Chapek addressed criticism over the company's handling of Florida's gay bill, saying he called the state's governor to express his displeasure. No matter how well-intended, the company's initial response didn't quite get the job done, but they are committed to support the community going forward.

Disney came under fire for its refusal to condemn the Don't Say Gay bill, which bars primary school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity. In an internal memo to staff sent Monday, Chapek wrote that corporate statements don't change outcomes or minds and are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide.

Speaking during the company's annual meeting of shareholders, he said he would like to take a moment to address some concerns that he has heard about the legislation impacting the LGBTQ+ community in Florida.

“I understand our original approach, no matter how well-intended, didn’t quite get the job done.”

The company didn't take a public position on the bill because they thought they could be more effective working behind the scenes. The bill passed Florida's Senate this week and is expected to be signed into law.

The Disney boss personally called DeSantis on Wednesday morning in order to express his disappointment and concern that if legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, nonbinary, and trans kids and families.

The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address them. Legislation targeting their communities is being considered in many other states, which means this fight will go on.

Disney will give $5 million to organizations like HRC that work to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, in order to combat bigoted legislation targeting the community.

He said that they are committed to supporting community organizations so they are better equipped to take on fights.

We are rethinking our approach to advocacy, including political giving in Florida and beyond. I understand that our original approach didn't get the job done, but we're committed to supporting the community going forward.