If you are a big Disney fan, then you probably remember that, back in March, a major business fight erupted between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and The Walt Disney Company. The trouble began when Governor DeSantis and his fellow Republicans announced the Parental Rights in Education — a bill that would prevent educators from speaking about things like sexual orientation and sexual identity in grades K – 3. Critics of the bill claimed that it would unfairly target the LGBTQ+ community.
At first, Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek remained silent, saying that the bill was “irrelevant” to Disney. After weeks of outrage, Chapek finally spoke out against the bill, but it was too little too late. Chapek angered those against the bill by remaining quiet, and upset those who were for the bill by denouncing it. Chapek went so far as to say that Disney would work with Florida legislators to see the bill overturned.
From there, things went from bad to worse. Disney kept speaking out, and DeSantis and other Florida Republicans were not happy. They were so unhappy that they quickly drafted and voted on a bill that would end the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, which essentially allowed Disney to operate as its own government.
Things haven’t been as tense lately, but now we are hearing more from Governor DeSantis about why he fought back so hard against Disney. DeSantis stopped by Tucker Carlson Tonight and spoke about his fight with The House of Mouse.
“We didn’t drag them in, Tucker, they went in on their own,” DeSantis said on Fox News. “And not only opposed the bill. They threatened to get it repealed. These are parents’ rights … important policies in our state. They’re very popular. So they brought this upon themselves. All we did was stand up for what was right. And yes, they’re a big, powerful company, but you know what? We stand up for our folks and I don’t care what a Burbank-based California company says about our laws.”
DeSantis got into it with Disney while Bob Chapek was CEO, but now that Bob Iger is back running Disney, it will be interesting to see how everything plays out. While he was a private citizen, Iger spoke out against the bill and said that it would jeopardize the lives of LGBTQ+ youth. However, at a recent Disney Town Hall meeting, he said that he regretted Disney entering that political battle.
Iger has not said what Disney will do in terms of possibly fighting against the end of the Reedy Creek Improvement Act, and DeSantis has not said how he will work with Disney now that Iger is back. Iger and Disney worked in relative harmony with Florida for decades before Chapek took over.