GLAAD, the nation’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization, today announced a plan to rank movie 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 alliance should receive high scores from LGBTQ organizations as nearly 200 anti-LGBTQ bills advance in states across the country, often targeting transgender youth,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Companies must be held accountable for funding politicians who harm LGBTQ people, including their own employees, and for inaction on legislation they can help defeat.”
Ellis specifically called out Disney, which has come under heavy criticism from several of its own employees for failing to take action to prevent the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill in Florida. “LGBTQ inclusion isn’t just what happens on screen,” the GLAAD President said. “The Walt Disney Company and other media companies must take immediate action in Florida and other states. Entertainment and media companies cannot profit from our stories and remain silent about laws that discriminate against us.
The new rating categories will be incorporated into GLAAD’s annual Studio Accountability Index, a study that analyzes LGBTQ representation in the releases of eight major movie studio distributors (Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, STX Films, United Artists Releasing, Universal Pictures, The Walt Disney Studios, and Warner Bros).
The annual report, slated for release this summer, assigns ratings to each studio based on the quantity, quality and diversity of LGBTQ representation of its film releases in the previous calendar year. New sections will include:
- Donations to anti-LGBTQ elected officials, election candidates, and anti-LGBTQ political action committees of a film studio and parent company;
- Public advocacy efforts by a movie studio or parent company around pro-LGBTQ or anti-LGBTQ legislation;
- LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements or other public communications, particularly outside of Pride Month;
- Steps taken to support a studio’s LGBTQ-inclusive titles globally. Recent examples cited by GLAAD include the Marvel movie Eternals removed from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait after Disney allegedly refused to cut a gay kiss and in 2019 Paramount spoke out against censorship of LGBTQ content in Rocketman in Russia.
The new categories will be considered part of the ratings given to studios, with GLAAD tracking and reporting on the topics annually.
According to GLAASD, the changes to the annual Studio Accountability Index follow news that Disney employee resource groups PRIDE and other LGBTQ advocates, including GLAAD, have called on The Walt Disney Company to take action against what the organization calls Florida’s Don’t Say LGBTQ Bill.