The battle between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company continues to rage on. In early March, the Florida House and State Senate passed the Parental Rights in Education bill. The bill would prohibit educators from talking about gender identity and sexual orientation from Kindergarten through third grade. The bill was named the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics and received nationwide backlash.
While Disney originally remained quiet as the bill passed through the state legislature, the company finally spoke out against it as pressure built up from the public and thousands of Cast Members who felt targeted by the bill. When Disney denounced the bill, CEO Bob Chapek said that he would meet with Governor DeSantis to help possibly reword the bill. That meeting never happened, and the Governor said that Disney was posturing.
On March 28, DeSantis officially signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law. Disney immediately spoke out against the signing and said that they would be working hard to appeal the law. Disney said that the bill should not have been signed into law, and they would be working with state agencies to see that the bill is struck down in the courts.
That did not sit well with Governor DeSantis. The Governor held a press conference and said that Disney — which is headquartered in California — has no place telling Florida parents what they can and cannot do. The Governor went on to say:
“For Disney to come out and put a statement and say that the bill should have never passed and they are going to actively work to repeal it — I think, one, was fundamentally dishonest. But two, I think that crossed the line”, said the Gov., “This state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state. They do not control this state”.
Disney is currently planning to move thousands of Imagineers to Florida and work in the new Lake Nona campus. While that move has not been paused or stopped at this time, it will be interesting to see which direction Disney decides to go in. California Governor Gavin Newsom has invited Disney to stay in the state, which does not have a law like Florida’s on the books.