Florida Republicans Threaten Disney With Legal Retribution For Condemning 'Don't Say Gay' Law
Disney’s trouble over its position on Florida’s “don’t say gay” law continues — this time with Republican state politicians reportedly vowing retribution for the company belatedly speaking out against the legislation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Florida lawmakers, led by Governor Ron DeSantis, are now threatening to roll back the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967 which gives the company authority to govern itself, including the ability to impose taxes, provide emergency services, and adopt ordinances on the land it owns for its operations in the state.
And that’s not all. According to Popular Information, politicians in Washington D.C., including Indiana Congressman Jim Banks along with 16 other GOP members, are saying they won’t support the extension of the copyright for Mickey Mouse, efforts that some are calling political blackmail.
This is all despite Disney pledging $300,000 to politicians who backed “Don’t Say Gay” and that it only publically condemned the law after it passed and under massive pressure from its LGBTQ+ employees, including public call-outs on social media and walkouts.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s initial response to the then-bill was that the company would essentially be staying out of the fight — continue to donate to politicians who supported the bill while also “creating a more inclusive world is through the inspiring content we produce, the welcoming culture we create here, and the diverse community organizations we support, including those representing the LGBTQ+ community.” Following the backlash from within the company for this stance, Chapek issued a company-wide memo stating, “Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was. 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.” However, Disney stopped short of publicly speaking out against the bill, again.
Finally, as the outcry continued, Chapek issued a statement saying he intended to speak with Gov. DeSantis. “Governor DeSantis committed to me that he wanted to make sure that this law could not be weaponized in any way by individuals in the state or groups in the state to unduly harm or target gay, lesbian, nonbinary, or transgender kids and families,” he said during the Disney shareholder meeting in early March.
The “Don’t Say Gay” bill was signed into law on March 29, after which Disney issued a statement vowing to help repeal the legislation. “Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘don’t say gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” read the statement. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that. We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.” It’s a move that many who opposed the homophobic law say was too little, too late.
However, this hasn’t stopped DeSantis from speaking out against the “woke” company.
“As a matter of the first principle, I don’t support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful,” DeSantis said last month. “They’ve lost a lot of the pull that they used to have, and honestly, I think that’s a good thing for our state. You should not have one organization that is able to dictate policy in all these different realms, and they have done that for many, many years. If that stops now, which it should, that would be a good thing for Florida.”