Disney ‘very forthright’ on cutting Boy Scouts funding over gay policy

The national commissioner for the Boy Scouts of America said the decision by Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. to cut funding for the organization over its ban on adult leaders who are gay was disappointing, but not a surprise.

Tico Perez told the Orlando Sentinel that Disney was “very forthright that this was coming down the pike,” and that the Boy Scouts hoped to work with the media giant in the future “where our interests align.”

Disney’s decision was made public after the president of a Boy Scouts council in Apopka, Fla., sent local troops a memo on the move.


Robert Utsey’s letter was posted on a website for Scouts for Equality, an organization advocating against the ban on gay leaders.

Utsey said the National Boy Scouts of America’s Council had reached out to Disney to resolve the situation.

“However, according to [Walt Disney World], their views do not currently align with the BSA,” Utsey said. “We will continue to keep an open line of communication with them, but at this time, are unable to reverse their decision.”

Disney has so far declined to comment on the matter, instead referring to its corporate policy of not giving grants to groups that “operate or support activities that are counter” to the company’s nondiscrimination policies.

Until recently, gay people were banned from the Boy Scouts. The restriction on minors was lifted effective Jan. 1, but the group kept the restriction against adult Scout leaders.

Disney’s decision takes effect in 2015, so funding for the current year will remain in place.

Grants have been given through a Disney program that donates money to organizations in exchange for volunteer hours completed by its employees.