GLAAD, the nation’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, announced today a plan to grade film studios on political donations, public advocacy and global LGBTQ Content, a response to what the group calls the corporate inaction around anti-LGBTQ legislation in Florida and other states.
“No company that chooses silence over allyship should receive high scores from LGBTQ organizations while nearly 200 anti-LGBTQ bills advance in states around the country, often targeting transgender youth,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis in a statement. “Corporations need to be held accountable for funding politicians that harm LGBTQ people, including their own employees, and for inaction on legislation that they can help defeat.”
Ellis specifically called out Disney, which has come under harsh criticism from many of its own employees for failing to take action to prevent the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida. “LGBTQ inclusion is not just what happens on screen,” GLAAD’s president said. “The Walt Disney Company and other media companies need to take immediate action in Florida and other states. Entertainment and media companies cannot profit from our stories and stay silent on laws that discriminate against us.”
The new grading categories will incorporated into GLAAD’s annual Studio Responsibility Index, a study that analyzes LGBTQ representation in releases by eight major film studio distributors (Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, STX Films, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros).
The annual report, set for release this summer, assigns grades to each studio based on quantity, quality, and diversity of LGBTQ representation from its film releases the previous calendar year. The new sections will include:
- Donations to anti-LGBTQ elected officials, candidates for office, and anti-LGBTQ Political Action Committees from a film studio and parent company;
- Public advocacy efforts from a film studio or parent company around pro-LGBTQ or anti-LGBTQ legislation;
- LGBTQ-inclusive ads or other public communications, especially outside of Pride month;
- Actions taken to support a studio’s LGBTQ-inclusive titles internationally. Recent examples cited by GLAAD include Marvel’s film Eternals being pulled from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait after Disney reportedly refused to cut a same-sex kiss and in 2019, Paramount speaking out against censorship of LGBTQ content in Rocketman in Russia.
The new categories will be considered as part of the grades assigned to the studios, with GLAAD tracking and reporting on the topics each year.
According to GLAASD, the changes in the annual Studio Responsibility Index follows news that Disney PRIDE Employee Resource Groups and other LGBTQ advocates including GLAAD have been calling for The Walt Disney Company to take action against what the organization calls Florida’s Don’t Say LGBTQ bill.
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