Gabrielle Union lambasted Florida's "don't say gay" bill and anti-LGBTQ+ actions by politicians in other states while speaking on the red carpet for the Los Angeles premiere of her new film, Cheaper by the Dozen -- and criticized the film's studio, the Walt Disney Co., albeit without mentioning the studio's name.
Union, star and executive producer of the film, is stepmother to a transgender child, Zaya Wade, the daughter of Union's husband, Dwyane Wade. Speaking about the Florida bill, which would restrict classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, she told The Hollywood Reporter, "I don't want to say shock because hatred doesn't shock me at this point. I've been a black woman in America since '72. Nothing shocks me, but the fear that gripped me because I know what this leads to. Every moment in history, there has been this moment. We know how this ends. We know where hate and oppression lead. And it can start now with the LGBTQIA community, but if you think that it's just a them problem, oh, baby, you're next."
She also mentioned Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered that parents who allow their trans children to receive gender-affirming medical care be investigated as child abusers (an order temporarily blocked by a court), and Idaho, where there's been an attempt, now failed, to criminalize doctors who provide such care. Corporations that could use their power to fight such actions need to step up and do so, she said, without using Disney's name. The company has been denounced by employees and others for its slow response to the Florida bill and its contributions to politicians who supported it. The bill has passed both houses of the legislature and is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis.
There are corporations that "could really, truly make a difference, take a stand, not fund [discrimination]," she said. "If you're going to take a stand and be all about diversity and inclusion -- and it's not just about black boxes after George Floyd died -- you need to actually put your money where your mouth is. You can't stand against hate and oppression and fund hate and oppression. That doesn't work. Obviously, our family has a big spotlight. My child is one child. There are countless children who deserve peace and the ability to survive and thrive in this world, just like everybody else. And if you think that your kid isn't next, you are so sadly mistaken."