Bob Chapek
Bob Chapek

Disney CEO Bob Chapek was forced to make a hasty retreat on March 8 from his memo of two days earlier in which the entertainment company explained why it refused to publicly criticize Florida’s horrible “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

“Corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds,” wrote Chapek. “Instead, they are often weaponized by one side or the other to further divide and inflame.”

He went on to say the best way to effect change is “through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create, and the diverse community organizations we support.”

Chapek's wishy-washy statement bombed among Disney employees and the groups that it said it purportedly supported. Disney has 65K workers in Florida.

He was forced to eat the proverbial crow at the March 8 shareholders meeting at which he publicly trashed his original intent of working behind the senses to defeat the bill.

Chapek, who assumed the helm from Bob Iger last year, told shareholders: “I understand our political approach, no matter how well-intentioned, didn’t quite get the job done.”

Adding insult to Chapek’s PR injury, the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group, turned down a $5M donation from Disney.

"The Human Rights Campaign will not accept this money from Disney until we see them build on their public commitment and work with LGBTQ+ advocates to ensure that dangerous proposals, like Florida’s Don’t Say Gay or Trans bill, don’t become dangerous laws, and if they do, to work to get them off the books,” Joni Madison, interim president of the HRC, said in a statement released by the organization.

The group did credit Chapek’s annual-meeting statement with being “the first step in the right direction.”

Chapek’s PR co-star Geoff Morrell also didn’t come across smelling like a daisy from the “Don’t Say Gay” mess.

The former Pentagon spokesperson and BP executive VP-communications & advocacy was a very high-profile hire when he joined Disney on Jan. 1.

The Democrats have a nasty habit of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, a custom that could trigger even a bigger wipeout than the one that is anticipated in the midterm elections.

The House passed a massive $1.5T spending bill on March 8, which included funding for Democratic wishlist items like money for childcare, education and climate resilience.

The bill also included $13.6B funding for Ukraine, split between military hardware (Javelin antitank and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles) and humanitarian aid.

The bill, which funds the US government through September, is a major accomplishment, one that the Democrats should have trumpeted as a sign that they get things done.

Of course, the opposite occurred. There was Democratic sniping and bickering about dropping $15.6B for COVID-19 response, which postponed the vote and raised the prospect that the $1.5T package could go down the drain.

That would have been a self-inflicted PR nightmare for the Democratic.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, playing her role as the “adult in the room” finally stepped in and saved the day for her party.

She wrote a note warning recalcitrant Democrats to get over it and vote for the $1.5B. There will be other days to fight for the COVID-19 measure.

Pelosi headed off a Democratic disaster. The nation has moved on from COVID-19. Washington Democrats should, too.

Workers of the gig economy unite, just don’t form a union. DoorDash, Lyft, Uber, Grubhub and Istacart are among the app-based platforms that established the Flex trade association on March 8.

Flex claims it will advocate on behalf of “common sense solutions” on a range of issues affecting workers, consumers, businesses and other stakeholders.

In the press release announcing its formation, Flex, said its first education campaign, called “Independence Works,” would tout the wonders of workers setting their own hours.

Flex says the average app-based worker works eight hours per week, allowing them to earn extra money on their own terms. I don’t think my Grub Hub guys are working for “pin money.”

Of course, those app-based workers are classified as independent contractors who are not eligible for benefits that union employees received.

Labor unions say some app platforms limit the hours that gigsters can work so they don’t qualify for healthcare benefits.

Joe Biden and Democrats want to pass the “Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act” that would reclassify some app-based workers to traditional employees.

Flex isn't pro on the PRO Act.