The Walt Disney Co. has never provided donations to the Boy Scouts’ national council, but the company has sometimes granted funds to local troops. Next year, that will apparently end, however, because of the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay, adult Scout leaders.
"We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience, and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids,” Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times
Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., and Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., provided grants to troops with which Disney employees volunteered as part of a program called “Ears to You.”
By all indications, Disney had no intention of making its decision public. The company did not return the Times’ calls for comment, and the change only came to light when Robert Utsey, the board president of the Central Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America, sent a memo to local troops, which was then posted to the website Scouts for Equality
“We will continue to keep an open line of communication with them but, at this time, are unable to reverse their decision,” Utsey wrote. “If you are a [Walt Disney World] employee and have any concerns or questions about your volunteer service, I encourage you to reach out to your direct supervisor.”
The Boy Scouts of America has taken considerable heat over the past few years in response to its approach to gay leaders and scouts. A restriction on gay, minor scouts was lifted Jan. 1, but gay leaders are still banned. That has led to sponsors including Lockheed Martin, Caterpillar, Major League Soccer, Merck, Intel, and UPS ending relationships with the BSA, according to Scouts for Equality.
Meanwhile, a few people have taken to Disney’s Facebook page to call for boycotts.
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“Don't buy ‘Frozen,’” one commenter wrote on a post about a movies-on-demand app
. “Donate the money you would have spent on frozen to the Boy Scouts of America.”