Disney World is getting backlash from the Republican party and its supporters over its stance on the Parental Rights in Education law.
The law, commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, bans any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity that is not age-appropriate for students, according to state standards. For grades K through third, the bill bans instruction on those topics altogether.
Disney has spoken out against the law, which has now prompted Gov. Ron DeSantis to call for the removal of the special status that allows the company to operate as an independent government.
Disney is a major donor to Florida Republicans. In 2020, Disney donated $4.8 million to state candidates and political committees. Of that, about 80% went to Republicans.
But that isn’t stopping DeSantis and the GOP from looking into the repeal of a 1967 law that allowed Disney to establish its own independent government.
It has its own police and fire department and even the ability to build a nuclear power plant if it wants.
“This bill is about providing protection so that parents know they can send their young kids to school without them being sexualized,” DeSantis said as he campaigned for the measure to pass.
Disney, which employs tens of thousands of Floridians, became vocal against the legislation after it became law.
The CEO posted a statement on Twitter saying, “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of the lgbtq+.”
Republicans are pushing back.
“A Disney CEO that lives in California doesn’t have the ability to repeal a Florida bill or detail a Florida bill. The hubris and the arrogance of this individual to think that he can do that it’s just, it’s outrageous,” State Rep. Spencer Roach, R-North Fort Myers.
On social media, those for the law are calling for boycotts of Disney and the cancelations of their Disney+ subscriptions.
“Why Disney is the only company in Florida that is allowed to self-govern and have what we used to call 150 years ago, a company town, so it certainly puts them at enormous, enormous economic advantage over their competitor,” Roach said.
No one in the legislature has filed a bill to repeal Disney’s status, but Roach said that could change.
“I hope this doesn’t lose steam and we can keep up the momentum here and advocate for free markets in Florida,” Roach said.