5.9k Share this
Evangelical pastor Franklin Graham has blasted Disney for having its morals ‘in the gutter’ while backing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in his battle with the firm.
Writing on Facebook Saturday, the hardline Christian told his 10 million followers he was glad the entertainment firm’s power and finances were being pounded after it came out against DeSantis’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.
Graham said: ‘What has happened at Disney is moral failure. Walt Disney had a vision for wholesome family entertainment. He was committed to the family.
‘The morals of the corporate leadership of Disney today are in the gutter, and they want to redefine family counter to God’s original design and flaunt sin.’
The son of late celebrity evangelist Billy Graham continued: ‘LGBTQ activists are using corporations to force their agenda on the public, and companies may want to take another look at what they are allowing to happen. Disney has gone too far.
‘The people of Florida have revolted, and it’s going to cost Disney big time. Disney had a special tax status in the state which they benefitted from in a huge way—but because they came out against the parents of Florida, the governor and legislators have revoked that status.’
Franklin Graham excoriated Disney in this post shared to his Facebook feed Sunday
Graham also shared a snap of Disney pride memorabilia in a Facebook post which took aim at homosexuality
Graham shared a snap of himself in Orlando, and urged visitors to take in the city’s other attractions while avoiding Disney
‘Thank God for Governor Ron DeSantis who is willing to take a bold stand. We need more leaders like him. God bless him and the Florida legislature.’
Graham accompanied his post with photographs of rainbow-emblazoned Disney pride items for sale in a drugstore, including Mickey and Minnie Mouse ears, as well as pin badges.
He added that he was in Orlando for a fundraising event for his Samaritan’s Purse nonprofit, and urged families who visited the area to see its other attractions while avoiding Disney.
The pastor previously stoked controversy in 2010 by insisting that former President Barack Obama was a Muslim.
He branded Islam ‘wicked and evil’ in the wake of 9/11, and stoked further controversy after it was revealed he was drawing two salaries totaling $1.2 million from the Billy Graham Organization and Samaritan’s Purse.
On Friday, Governor DeSantis signed a new measure into law that ends Disney’s special governing power over its huge Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
It had previously been allowed to run the area – known as Reedy Creek – largely free from government oversight on issues such as building regulations.
The rule could come into effect from June 2023, although there is still room for negotiation, and one conservative lawyer says she believes Disney could successfully sue DeSantis for violating its First Amendment right to free speech.
Disney found its power curtailed after it came out against DeSantis’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, whose official title is the Parental Rights in Education Bill.
It prohibits public school instruction on gender and sexuality between kindergarten and third grade.
Supporters say the bill, which was signed into law in March, stops teachers from pushing inappropriate content on children, which they believe students may be too young to understand.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has clashed with Disney over its public opposition to his Parental Rights in Education Bill, also known as the Don’t Say Gay law
Florida lawmakers have now voted to strip Walt Disney World, pictured, of its special self-governing status which gives it carte blanche to build what it likes within its resort
Opponents say the bill is homophobic, and that the vagueness of its wording could see a teacher reported to authorities for something as minor as mentioning their same-sex partner in class.
Disney initially stayed quiet on the bill.
But the firm – which has long had a good track record on supporting its LGBT staff – is said to have waded into the issue after being pressured by woke in-house diversity factions now said to exert growing influence over bosses there.
CEO Bob Chapek later spoke out after walkouts by a small number of Disney staffers – and angered DeSantis by openly suggesting that his firm would apply pressure on lawmakers.
After blasting the bill, he said: ‘As I wrote to our employees earlier this week, we are committed to supporting community organizations like these so they are equipped to take on these fights.
‘Meanwhile, we are also reassessing our approach to advocacy, including political giving in Florida and beyond.’
The controversy has hit Disney’s share price hard too, as parents who back the bill or who were angered at the firm’s sudden outspoken stance vowed to boycott it.
Stocks have tanked by around a third in recent weeks, and now sit at just $118.27 per share.
Don’t Say Gay Bill has become latest hot-button culture war issue
HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley.
They say the bill’s aim is to ’empower parents’ in their children’s education, and make teachers recognize the distinction between ‘instruction’ and ‘discussion.’
‘What we’re prohibiting is instructing them in a specific direction,’ Baxley said about how teachers lead students in a classroom.
‘Students can talk about whatever they want to bring up, but sometimes the right answer is, ”You really ought to talk to your parents about that.”’
The bill applies to children in kindergarten through third grade.
It states that ‘classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur.’
It also requires districts to ‘adopt procedures for notifying a student’s parent if there is a change in the student’s services or monitoring related to the student’s mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being,’ something LGBTQ advocates argue could lead to students being outed to their parents without the student’s knowledge or consent.
It was passed on March 8 in a 22-17 vote. The state House had approved the bill late last month. DeSantis signed it into law on March 28 and it will come into effect on July 1.