One of the writers of Marvel Comics' The United States of Captain America announced that he is donating his paycheck from the first issue of the gay-inclusive comic series to the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and he just might have started a trend among Marvel writers in the process.
Author Christopher Cantwell tweeted he was making the move in response to The Walt Disney Company (Marvel's parent company) and its financial support of legislators who backed Florida’s highly controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which was passed by the state's senate earlier this week and awaiting a signature from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“Today I donated all I was paid to write THE U.S. OF CAPTAIN AMERICA #1 to The Matthew Shepard Foundation,” Cantwell tweeted.
Cantwell, who is bisexual and married to writer Elizabeth Cantwell, apparently inspired others to follow his lead in standing up to the homophobic legislation. Less than an hour after Cantwell had tweeted his donation, fellow Marvel creator Jordan Blum followed suit.
Saying he was both “horrified by the news and inspired by Chris,” Blum went a step further and said he would donate everything he was paid for Spider-Bot to the Matthew Shepard Foundation as well.
“Thanks for setting an example for the rest of us,” Blum said of Cantwell in his tweet.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek had generated controversy for his refusal to take a public stance against the proposed law that would regulate discussion of sex and gender in Florida’s schools, but appeared to reverse course this week.
After earlier saying corporate statements have less impact than content that affirms LGBTQ+ representation, Chapek expressed his opposition to the bill directly with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and signed a letter in opposition to the legislation. Despite Chapek’s belated actions, the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said it will refuse further donations from Disney until the company takes “meaningful action” to fight anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.
Disney expressed “surprise” and “disappointment” in HRC’s statement while reconfirming its commitment to protecting LGBTQ+ rights.
“We signed the HRC’s national business statement opposing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and pledged to financially support their efforts, and while we are surprised and disappointed that they will not take our financial support at this time, we remain committed to meaningful action to combat legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community.”
HRC had earlier said it was interested in actions, not words, 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 at the Human Rights Campaign, said in an earlier statement.
Despite their differences, Madison welcomed Chapek’s reversal but remained cautious.
“This should be the beginning of Disney’s advocacy efforts rather than the end,” Madison concluded.