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Backlash Against Disney for Response to “Don’t Say Gay” Legislation, Animators Trying for Better Labor Contract, CROWN Act, Female Producer Initiative, Awards Recap 

Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” legislation has led to backlash with Disney, Animators are trying to get a better deal for themselves, the CROWN act was recently passed by the U.S House of Representatives for the prevention of hair discrimination, Netflix is partnering with the European Producers Club for a female producer initiative, and winners announced for WGA, AARP, PGA, CAS, ASC, and the Guild of Music Supervisors awards.

By Lauren Cali 
March 23, 2022

Backlash Against Disney for Response to “Don’t Say Gay” Legislation

Employees of Disney TV Animation and Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution have issued a scathing rebuke of corporate leadership’s lackluster response to Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.

In a letter campaign, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter , employees are calling for a withdrawal of financial contributions for state politicians who are supporting the bill and directly criticizes Disney CEO Bob Chapek for his “apathetic” response. 

ESPN broadcasters Carolyn Peck and Courtney Lyle took a moment of silence during their broadcast at an NCAA Women’s basketball game to show solidarity with their fellow LGBTQIA+ Disney employees. The broadcast can be viewed here

At the PGA awards, Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm, said

“As women, artists of color, LGBTQ and differently labeled artists and producers, who have fought for and won a place at the table, propelling our community toward a more inclusive, diverse, richer, more sophisticated and nuanced sense of responsibilities for social, racial and economic justice.”
Pixar’s upcoming film Lightyear featured a same-gender kiss that was removed during the editing process for the film. However, the kiss was added back after a backlash - The Hollywood Reporter reports

Animators Trying for Better Labor Contract

The Animation Guild (TAG) held a rally on Sunday, in Burbank, just up the road from Disney Studios. The guild is currently in ongoing negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers - Deadline reports . Major issues the guild is trying to rectify include better terms for streaming shows, a significant pay increase for animation writers, and an outsized raise for the guild’s lowest-paid crafts. IATSE Local 839 said: 

“After an unprecedented 12 days of negotiations, The Animation Guild (TAG) Negotiations Committee continues to work hard to represent the best interests of all TAG members.”

The labor contract expired eight months ago between Hollywood studios and IATSE Local 839 according to The Wrap . Teri Cusumano, co-chair of the TAG Color Design Committee spoke at the rally: 

“Our master agreement is a living document, and in many ways, it represents the industry of the past rather than the industry of today. We need a new deal that pays us equally for our work regardless of what platform it airs on, that equally represents workers regardless of where they are doing that work. We need a new deal that pays animation workers equally to our live-action counterparts and we desperately need a new deal that gives equal pay for equal work.”

Members are being urged to get more involved, including adding studios to their ranks. Mairghread Scott, co-chair of the TAG Writers Committee said:

“We protected these companies from a global pandemic without missing a beat! We are more than enough to make real change! But how do we do it? Find a committee and join. Go past internet activism and organize with your crafts and communities! […] We need you to find the person that never goes to meetings and get them involved. Every day we are proving our strength, but we can only be strong enough if every single one of us gets off the sidelines and into the fight.”


The CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act, is being praised by SAG-AFTRA and Actors’ Equity Association for getting to the House of Representatives. This act would prohibit discrimination in education and employment based on a person’s texture or style of hair - Deadline reports

This legislation would be a huge step forward toward addressing discrimination in the workplace. SAG-AFTRA said: 

“SAG-AFTRA performers of color routinely find themselves on sets where their hair care and styling needs are not met in an equitable manner with other performers. This legislation will help address that disparate treatment on our sets nationwide and end this discriminatory practice in the workplace once and for all.”

SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher said: 

“Now is the time to reevaluate norms in a multiracial, multiethnic nation such as the United States of America. We must all refine our eyes to see that which is different from ourselves, not as wrong, but simply different. The CROWN Act addresses this with regards to natural hair of people of color. It is an exciting step towards a societal awareness of prejudice, judgment and whitewashing of culture. We must elevate ourselves as a species by embracing positively the many different threads that make up the fabric of the human experience.”

Female Producer Initiative

Netflix and the European Producers Clubare launching a partnership to help women-owned production companies launch their projects. This initiative will create opportunities to support female producers and help them see their projects to fruition - Deadline reports. 

The initiative will work as follows:
  1. Pitch contest and workshop hosted by Netflix 
  2. Producers of the best six projects will pitch directly to Netflix 
  3. The best three projects will receive award money 
In order to qualify, only companies at least 50% owned by women will be eligible and teams must include at least one woman producer and either a woman writer or director.

Awards Recap

Multiple awards shows occured this weekend:

At the WGA (Writer’s Guild) Awards, Berry Jenkins, creator and director of The Underground Railroad, received the WGA honorary Paul Selvin Award. In his speech, he spoke about truth and humanity. His speech can be viewed here . The full list of winners for the WGA Awards can be found here

Full list of winners for the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers).  

Full list of winners for the PGA (Producers Guild Awards). 

Full list of winners for the Cinema Audio Society Awards. 

Full list of winners for the Guild of Music Supervisors Awards.

Full list of winners for the AARP Movies for Grownups Awards. 

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Lauren Cali writes the weekly entertainment industry news blog for She’s a Social Media Specialist and a graduate of Elmhurst College.