Perhaps to placate far-left opponents of Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, Disney CEO Bob Chapek says the company had been lobbying against it “behind the scenes” all along. But Gov. Ron DeSantis says that just isn’t true.
“I talked to our Speaker of the House after that statement came out,” DeSantis said on The Guy Benson Show. “He said (Disney) never contacted him while they were working, while it was moving through the House of Representatives in Florida. They didn’t say anything about it. …
“They were not even engaged at those critical processes. They’re responding to, I would say, left-wing activists … rather than the actual substance of it.”
The main substance of the bill is that it prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity for children from kindergarten to 3rd grade. It has been dubbed by opponents the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, but none of the language or provisions include anything suggesting that.
The law takes effect on July 1, though lawmakers expect legal challenges that may extend to the U.S. Supreme Court.
DeSantis says that in its vow to get the law repealed, Disney is working against parents’ rights and is overstepping its boundaries as a private entity.
“They do not run this state,” the governor made clear. “I’m not going to let our state be hijacked by a bunch of California corporate executives. And the fact of the matter is, I think they think that whatever they want in Florida they get. That may have been true in the past. That is not true now. We’re going to govern this state based on the best interests of the people of Florida, not what any corporation, but particularly that corporation, is demanding.”
Indeed, DeSantis said Thursday he’s open to ending Disney’s government-like powers over taxing and infrastructure around Disney World, which date back to the 1967 creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District. “Why would you want to have special privileges in the law at all?” DeSantis asked, before answering, “I don’t think that we should.
“I think that’s one of the reasons they’ve got so far over their skis on this parental rights stuff – because I think they’re used to having their way, and they’re not used to having people that will stand in their way.”
Disney is undeterred. As part of its “Reimagine Tomorrow” campaign, Karey Burke, president of Disney’s General Entertainment Content, promises that 50% of its recurring characters in the future will be from “underrepresented groups” such as the LGBTQ community.
The company also has discontinued the use of gendered pronouns, such as “ladies and gentlemen” and “boys and girls,” from all its theme parks.