Disney’s Diversity Training is Safe From Ron DeSantis

Disney diversity training Stop Woke Act fails
Credit: Fox News/Disney

For nearly six decades, The Walt Disney Company and the state of Florida had a relatively good relationship. In 1967, the state passed the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which essentially allowed Walt Disney World Resort to function as its own government. Disney continued to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to the state, but was able to avoid red tape when it came to things like permitting new rides and attractions.

reedy creek fire department building at disney world

Credit: Reedy Creek Improvement District

This all changed in 2022, when Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Parental Rights in Education Act. Then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek denounced the bill, as did LGBTQIA groups around the country. After that, the relationship between the state government and the Mouse House dissolved into a bitter battle, culminating in lawsuits and new bills targeting Walt Disney World.

One thing that DeSantis constantly attacked Disney for was its “woke” policies and content. He went after Disney for showcasing more diverse characters in its movies and television shows. He also criticized the company for its Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion program — which promotes inclusion and acceptance in the workplace.

Disney pride rainbow balloons pride month june

Credit: Disney

Related: OpEd: Disney Is Woke, and It Should Stay That Way

In July 2022, the controversial governor and the Republican-led state legislature passed the “Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act” — also called the “Stop WOKE Act.” The bill prohibited companies and schools from certain types of training and instruction. It largely targeted Disney’s DEI program.

It’s been nearly two years since the passage of the bill, but a U.S. Appeals Court has decided that Disney — and every other company — has nothing to worry about. They have deemed the bill unconstitutional.

Ron DeSantis

Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Not only that, they ripped DeSantis and state legislators apart for even passing the bill in the first place. They went so far as to call the “Stop WOKE Act” a “First Amendment sin.”

Per Politico:

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to the DeSantis administration by deeming one of the Republican governor’s signature laws — the “Stop Woke” Act — unconstitutional, upholding a previous ruling that prevented it from taking hold. DeSantis officials, meanwhile, disagreed with the decision, signaling that the governor could ask the Supreme Court to weigh in.

“By limiting its restrictions to a list of ideas designated as offensive, the Act targets speech based on its content,” Judge Britt C. Grant, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, wrote in the opinion. “And by barring only speech that endorses any of those ideas, it penalizes certain viewpoints — the greatest First Amendment sin.”

Ron DeSantis

Credit: ABC

DeSantis and his lawyers pushed back on the court’s ruling, indicating they plan to appeal to a higher court. They claim that the decision allows companies to “indoctrinate” their employees. They also claim that, if the Act is prohibited, companies will be allowed to teach employees “that one race is morally superior to another race.”

This is not the only legal fight that DeSantis is fighting when it comes to Disney. Last year, Disney sued DeSantis for violating its First Amendment right when he dissolved Reedy Creek.

Lake Buena Vista no firefighters

Credit: Reedy Creek Improvement District

Related: Despite Lawsuits and Mass Exodus, Ron DeSantis Claims “Success” in Disney Takeover

DeSantis’ lawyers argued that it “didn’t matter” if DeSantis punished Disney, as long as the laws passed against the company looked constitutional. A judge agreed with DeSantis and dismissed Disney’s lawsuit. The ruling is currently being appealed.

Do you think the Stop WOKE Act was unconstitutional? Let us know in the comments.

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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