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Disney capitulated to the social media outrage mob over a controversial bill protecting the rights of Florida parents. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) did not falter.
What is the background?
Disney faced manufactured backlash this week for not speaking out against Florida HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education Bill.
As TheBlaze reported, former and current Disney employees expressed outrage at Disney over the company’s silence about the bill. Apparently, Disney executives are supposed to comment on any legislation in Florida that Democrats and LGBT advocates oppose. Disney employs more than 75,000 people in Florida.
The Parental Rights in Education bill — falsely called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics and the media — prohibits classroom instruction on “sexual orientation or gender identity” for grades K-3. The bill does not, as critics incorrectly claim, prohibit use of the word “gay.” The purpose of the bill is to prevent school officials from discussing with young students sexual topics that are better suited for their parents.
What is Disney doing now?
Speaking with Disney shareholders on Wednesday, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek said company executives were “opposed to the bill from the outset,” but chose to work “behind the scenes” with lawmakers to address their concerns.
It is not clear why Disney would be concerned with legislation protecting children and parents’ rights.
“We were hopeful that our longstanding relationships with those lawmakers could lead to a better outcome. Ultimately, we were unsuccessful,” Chapek added. “I called Gov. DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be unfairly used to target gay, lesbian, nonbinary and transgender kids and families. The governor heard our concerns, and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address them.”
Not only did Chapek voice Disney’s “disappointment” with the bill and call DeSantis, but Disney reportedly committed to signing a statement opposing all similar legislation across the nation.
How did DeSantis respond?
Despite hearing Chapek’s concerns, DeSantis refused to bend the knee to the outrage mob, which is angered by a falsified depiction of the bill.
According to a statement released by DeSantis’ office, Wednesday was the first time DeSantis was contacted by Disney about the bill. Nevertheless, “the governor’s position has not changed.”
“Governor DeSantis has always been open to hearing from Floridians and having conversations about legislation — as long as those discussions are grounded in facts, not false media narratives,” the statement explained. “Anyone who has questions or concerns about the Parental Rights in Education bill is encouraged to read the bill, rather than the distorted coverage in the mainstream media, which regurgitates false partisan talking points.
“Disney is a family-friendly company that creates wholesome entertainment for kids. The same Florida parents who take their families to Disney also support parental rights in education, because they do not want their young children exposed to inappropriate content about sex and gender theory at school,” the statement said.
The Florida legislature has passed the bill, and DeSantis is expected to sign the bill into law soon.