DeSantis Warns Disney It Will No Longer Self-Govern

( — Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has warned Disney that it will no longer govern the district it controls in central Florida and this will be administered by the state within 2 years. DeSantis has been involved in a feud with Disney since he introduced the Parental Rights in Education bill in 2022. Disney currently has governing rights over the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which it runs with a board of 5 directors. Now the Governor says this will be renamed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and its board members will be appointed by the state. “There’s a new Sheriff in town,” he said.

The Parental Rights in Education legislation was part of the DeSantis administration’s aim to drive “woke” ideology out of the public sphere, and particularly, to protect children from inappropriate adult exposure. HB 1557 was introduced by two Republican members of the Florida Legislature – Representative Joe Harding and Senator Dennis Baxley. It quickly became known as the Don’t Say Gay bill by critics, but in essence, it demands that teachers not discuss gender identities or intimate or personal matters with the children they teach. The response to the legislation was fierce from the left, who accused DeSantis of stoking hatred.

When the law was passed, Disney, which generates billions of dollars in the Florida economy each year and accounts for 2.5% of the state GDP, vocally protested against it. The company said it was its internal policy to bring down the law, and CEO Bob Chapek apologized for not speaking out sooner. “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights. You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry,” Chapek said. He added that Disney would pause all political donations in the state and would immediately increase support to activists working to overturn the law.

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