Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested on Friday that he will consider an unprecedented new action against the Walt Disney Co. over its increasingly public push-back on a new parental rights law that has been misnamed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics.
Specifically, the Republican governor said he would consider revoking Disney’s special ‘self-government’ status that the theme park has enjoyed since coming to the Sunshine State in the latter 1960s.
The New York Post notes:
DeSantis has been at loggerheads with his state’s largest employer over the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which prohibits teachers from discussing LGBTQ topics like sexual orientation or gender identity with students unless they’re in the fourth grade or higher.
DeSantis signed the bill last week, prompting Disney to release a statement vowing to help defeat it in court.
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” reads the statement from Disney, which posted the message on its corporate Twitter feed Monday.
“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
DeSantis noted on earlier this week that he will consider the revocation of the special status.
“Disney has alienated a lot of people now,” DeSantis told reporters in West Palm Beach on Thursday.
“And so the political influence they’re used to wielding, I think has dissipated. And so the question is, why would you want to have special privileges in the law at all?”
The Post explained:
In 1967, Florida created the Reedy Creek Improvement District, a semi-private, independent governing entity controlled by Disney. It gave the company the power to approve construction projects for its theme parks as well as build and manage the necessary infrastructure to support its operations.
The district was also empowered to levy its own taxes and then use the revenue to build public services and maintain roadways and bridges.
If the GOP-led state government repeals the law, Disney World and all of its properties would be regulated by Orange and Osceola counties in central Florida.
Disney was initially drawn to Florida in the mid-1960s due to the promise that the company could function as its own government.
DeSantis followed up on his previous remarks in an interview on “Fox & Friends” Friday morning.
“Over many, many decades…they’ve gotten incredible treatment from the Florida legislature and they are treated on a pedestal, this one corporation is treated differently than everybody else,” the Republican governor told Fox & Friends.
“That’s not something I’ve ever supported,” he said. “But now in the Legislature you see a movement to reevaluate those special privileges. And so at the end of the day, I think Disney has gotten over its skis on this.”
“There’s policy disputes and that’s fine, but when you’re trying to impose a woke ideology on our state, we view that as a significant threat,” he said. “This wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated. So in Florida we take a very big stand against that.”
Another Republican, state Rep. Spencer Roach, weighed in on the potential revocation Friday as well on social media.
“Yesterday was the 2nd meeting in a week [with] fellow legislators to discuss a repeal of the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which allows Disney to act as its own government,” he wrote. “If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County.”