Opinion | Politics
The Disney-DeSantis Battle Has Crossed a Terrifying Line
The spat between Disney and DeSantis has grown into a battle of epic proportions.
DeSantis is like an obsessive stalker, an ex-boyfriend who can’t let go of the past. The ongoing feud between Disney and DeSantis is a clash of giants at the intersection of political and corporate power.
For those who’ve missed the story, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Inc Corporation have engaged in a public fight over the past year. The stakes are high for Disney, as DeSantis has sworn to make business operations for its Florida theme park absolutely as difficult as possible.
“Come Hell or high water,” threatened the Governor early this month, “we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day.” It all began last year after DeSantis signed HB 1557, dubbed the “don’t say gay” bill, in May 2022.
Despite its moniker, the law doesn’t ban the word “gay” in schools.
It bans discussions of sexual orientation in classrooms. LGBTQ+ relationships are now verboten, and teachers or school staff who speak about them can be fired. This has had what teachers have described as a “chilling” effect, as school staff self-silences to avoid consequences.
The original law only banned these discussions in K-3, but DeSantis has since expanded the law to encompass every school grade in every school in Florida.
Following the bill’s signing, Disney came under mounting online pressure to speak out against the bill. Disney remained silent for about a week before then-CEO Bob Chapek finally spoke out against the law:
“You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
This apology and denunciation of the law swiftly drew the ire of Governor DeSantis. DeSantis vowed to strip Disney of its autonomous status.
Disney’s autonomy threatened
Since Disney World opened in 1967, Disney has resided in the Reedy Creek Improvement District. The district isn’t…