DeSantis Blasts ‘Woke’ Disney After CEO Criticizes Parental Rights Bill

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis clapped back at the CEO of entertainment giant Walt Disney for being “woke” after he criticized parental rights legislation under consideration in the GOP-controlled state.

Talking to reporters in Boca Raton, DeSantis said there is “zero” chance he’s going to change his position on barring the instruction of “transgenderism in kindergarten classrooms.”

“When you have companies that have made a fortune off being family-friendly and catering to families and young kids, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kid’s kindergarten classroom,” he said.

“You have companies like at Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights, they’re going to criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten, in first-grade classrooms,” he added.

“If that’s the hill they’re going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices that you see over there at the hands of the CCP,” he noted further.

“And so in Florida, our policies got to be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musing of woke corporations,” DeSantis added.

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The Parental Rights in Education bill bans Florida school employees or third parties from giving classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in kindergarten through third grade.

The bill, which passed the state Senate Tuesday after passing the House last month, has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by Democrats who falsely claim it bans any discussion pertaining to being gay in the state’s schools. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against the bill for the first time Wednesday in the company’s annual shareholder meeting, during which he announced Disney would be donating $5 million to LGTBQ groups.

“I understand that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill,” Chapek said, FOX 35 Orlando reported.

“We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes, working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle,” he continued.

“I called Gov. DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families,” he said, adding that the governor was “very open” to hearing his concerns.

“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,” DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw noted further in a statement. “The governor’s position has not changed.”

The bill does not mention the word “gay,” but it does prohibit classroom instruction on “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” with children in third grade or younger, “or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”

It also requires school districts to notify 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 and the school’s ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student,” and it prohibits schools from “encouraging a student to withhold” such information from a parent.

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WATCH: DeSantis Blasts Reporter Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Legislation: ‘I Understand What You’re Doing’