In recent weeks, The Walt Disney Company and CEO Bob Chapek have been in a heated dispute with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the Governor’s recent signing of the Parental Rights in Education bill. Critics have dubbed the bill the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and said that it targets the LGBTQ+ community. Chapek has made numerous statements against the bill, saying that the company will work hard to make sure that the bill is repealed. DeSantis, in turn, has said that corporations do not run the state of Florida and has said that Disney is simply trying to be “woke”.
Some Florida Republicans have expressed their anger at Disney being so outspoken against the bill. They have even suggested the repeal of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act — which allows Disney to run itself like its own government. Some say that repealing the act would be shortsighted, since the Florida taxpayers would then become responsible for the things that Disney needs. Governor DeSantis, however, has signaled that he supports repealing the Reedy Creek Improvement act.
One of the critics of the repeal — and also Governor DeSantis — is Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. Hogan, a fellow Republican, called DeSantis’ fight with Disney “crazy.” He also called the Parental Rights in Education bill “absurd” and said that such a bill would never have passed in his state. In speaking with CNN’s Dana Bash on State of the Union, Hogan also said:
The whole thing seems like a crazy fight…DeSantis is talking about, you know, he was not demanding that businesses do things, but he was telling the cruise lines what they had to do. He was telling local schools what they had to do, mandating, and now he wants to criticize Disney for expressing how they feel about that bill. I mean, they have every right to. We have a thing called freedom of speech. They can come out and say what they think.
Jose Castillo, a Disney employee who is running for Congress in Florida, has said in interviews with Fox News, that the silent majority of Disney employees support the bill. For a while, #BoycottDisney was even trending on Twitter. However, that claim is being disputed, as many point to the numerous company walkouts that Disney had to deal with, as thousands of Cast Members protested the bill.
DeSantis has not responded to Hogan’s comments.