Mumbai, June 15 (IANS) As Orlando continues to reel from the aftermath of the most deadly mass shooting in U.S. history, solidarity and empathy have flooded in from across the country—but the most recent act of support has its roots much closer to home. Disney announced Tuesday that it has donated $1 million to a fund established by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to help those affected by the shooting. The company also said that it would match contributions from its employees.
In a Disney Parks blog post, Disney announced the donation and detailed other steps it has taken to help in the wake of the shooting—including working with OneBlood to set up five locations across the Walt Disney World Resort property where cast members and other Disney employees can donate blood. The park is also working with the City of Orlando and the Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association to set up free accommodations for victims’ friends and families. (JetBlue is providing free flights to and from the city for victims’ immediate family and domestic partners.)
This is a strong show of support from Disney—one that is to be expected. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek noted that 74,000 Disney World cast members live in Orlando. (For perspective, the city population of Orlando is around 262,000.)
Despite calls for better L.G.B.T. representation in Disney’s own filmography—including a pair of May campaigns to give Captain America a boyfriend and/or give Frozen’s Elsa a girlfriend—the House of Mouse has recently been clear in its support of the L.G.B.T. community in the real world. Back in March, Disney and Marvel threatened to stop filming in Georgia if its anti-gay legislation got signed into law.
The entertainment giant’s Orlando park has also been the site of annual Gay Days since 1991—even though Disney isn’t the one officially throwing them. On the first Saturday each June, members of the L.G.B.T. community gather to traverse Disney World together wearing red shirts. Sadly, it’s recently been reported that the Orlando shooter might have used this year’s events as a time to scout out his crime: between June 1 and June 6, investigators believe he made trips to both Pulse, the gay club in which the shooting occurred, and a Disney shopping complex called Disney Springs.
For those who want to help as Orlando continues to pick up the pieces, the fund Disney donated to is called OneOrlando. You can find more information here.
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