Celebs Call Out The “Don’t Say Gay” Bill On Their Social Media & Red Carpets

Kerry Washington, Shawn Mendes, and Ariana Grande have taken action against the Florida bill.

Kerry Washington, Oscar Isaac & More Celebs Call Out The "Don't Say Gay" Bill
Rich Polk/Jesse Grant/Getty Images

Ariana Grande, Oscar Isaac, Gabrielle Union, and more stars are speaking out against Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill and the Walt Disney Company’s initially muted response to the controversial legislation, which has caused walkouts and protests from Disney employees nationwide.

The state’s bill, formally called the Parental Rights in Education bill, would outlaw all mention of sexual orientation in classrooms from kindergarten to third grade, which could include teachers acknowledging historical figures or even their students’ LGBTQ parents. The law would also require schools to contact a student’s parents if they come out to an employee, and parents would be able to sue any school districts who don’t follow the proposed laws. While President Joe Biden has called the bill “hateful,” it has already passed the Florida Senate, and Gov. Ron DeSantis has indicated that he will sign it into law soon, causing outcry all over the country.

“Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay! Yeah, it’s an absolutely ridiculous law. It’s insanity. ... It’s astounding that it even exists in this country.” ~ Actor Oscar Isaac

Disney has a lot of stake in Florida, considering Orlando is the home of Disney World and many TV and film productions are shot in the state, which has made the company’s soft response to the bill a touchy subject of controversy. Many Disney staffers have staged walkouts from work in protest, while some of its high-profile stars have spoken out against the company, leading Disney to issue an apology on March 11. “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights,” CEO Bob Chapek wrote. “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”

However, its workers want more, asking for Disney to take a stronger stand by ceasing all campaign donations to politicians that support the bill and crafting a plan to protect its employees from the legislation, which includes stopping development efforts in the state. Fifteen other states are currently developing bills like Florida’s Don’t Say Gay legislation, with similar laws already being passed in other states years ago. But given Florida’s ties to the entertainment industry, it’s only natural that celebs are starting by speaking out against Florida and Disney first.

Kerry Washington

Washington, who starred on the Disney-owned ABC show Scandal, slammed the company for their initial silence on the Don’t Say Gay bill, saying in a Twitter statement on March 22 that she doesn’t “condone the actions or inactions of Disney in this moment.”

Oscar Isaac

During a press junket for his new Disney+ series Moon Knight, Issac was asked about the Don’t Say Gay bill and Disney employees protesting the company’s response. His answer was simple, singing, “Gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay gay!” He then said, “Yeah, it’s an absolutely ridiculous law. It’s insanity. And I hope that Disney as a company comes out as forcefully as possible against this idea. It’s astounding that it even exists in this country.”

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The Raven’s Home Cast

On March 22, Raven-Symoné posted a video of the entire Season 5 cast and executive producers of Raven’s Home walking off set in protest of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“In today's world it is imperative that we take stands, show support, and move forward not backwards,” she captioned the video. “Every family every person and every child deserves to be recognized no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation. Education that reflects the truth and the world we live in is something we must fight for.”‌

Ariana Grande

On March 9, Florida native Grande called the bill “really disgusting” in an Instagram Story, sharing a post from Equality Florida that explains the news in detail.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Shawn Mendes

Like Grande, Mendes shared a post from Equality Florida on Twitter that showed protestors rallying outside of the Florida capitol building in protest of the bill. The singer urged his Floridian fans to join the movement, writing, “Florida, call your senators!” and providing a link with contact info for their representatives, complete with the hashtag #LetFreeFloridaSayGay.

Gabrielle Union

While walking the red carpet of her new film, Disney+’s remake of Cheaper By the Dozen, Union criticized Disney’s initial lack of response to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “Somebody asked me, ‘Are you disappointed?’ I’m disappointed when my order isn’t right at In-N-Out,” she told Variety. “I don’t even think that’s a word that you could use for something like this, where children’s lives are literally hanging in the balance. We need to own that if you truly are taking stands against hate and oppression, you should not fund hate and oppression. Period. The damage is done.”

Gabrielle Union, her husband Dwayne Wade, and their daughters.Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images

Sara Ramirez

Grey’s Anatomy and ...And Just Like That star Ramirez spoke out against the bill on March 9, writing “gay” repeatedly and affirming their support for all members of the LGBTQ community.

George Takei

Gay icon Takei, who has spoken out against similar “Don’t Say Gay” bills in years past, criticized Florida’s bill in detail in a Twitter thread on March 9. “Don’t fall into the trap that this is just about protecting kids,” he concluded his argument. “Ask what the state is supposedly protecting them FROM, and what that implicitly says about the prohibited topics. The law is wrong, it’s un-American, and Florida should be ashamed.”

This post will be updated as more celebrities react to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.