The clash over Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill continues to rage even after Gov. Ron DeSantis signed it earlier in the week. Disney, which entered the debate after the law cleared the state legislature, has vowed to intensify its crusade against the move and has engaged in a war of words with the governor. The company seems to be acting at the behest of its LGBTQ employees, but it appears public opinion is not with Mickey Mouse and company in this particular endeavor.
In a statement issued after DeSantis signed the legislation, which the left has deceptively referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Disney declared it would continue to fight against the measure, hoping to have it repealed, or nullified by the courts.
“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,” Disney insisted. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.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.”
At a Tuesday press conference, DeSantis hit back, calling Disney’s statement “fundamentally dishonest” and saying it “crossed the line.”
“This state is governed by the interest of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives,” the governor said. “They do not run this state. They do not control this state.” DeSantis also pointed out that Disney never reached out to Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls while the legislature was considering the bill.
“[Disney] didn’t seem to have a problem with it when it was going through. If this was such an affront, why weren’t they speaking up at the outset?” he asked. “And then for them to say they’re going to actively work to repeal substantive protections for parents as a company that is supposedly marketing its services to parents with young children — I think they crossed the line.”
Disney first entered the debate over the bill after being pressured to do so by employees and LGBTQ activist groups. The company has been vocal in its opposition to the measure, which it claims, without evidence, would unfairly discriminate against students and teachers. Other employees who are not of the “woke” persuasion penned a letter to Disney’s leadership, decrying its decision to wade into political waters and pander to the far-left crowd. They wrote:
“Much has been made of our internal efforts to Reimagine Tomorrow, but as much as diversity and inclusion are promoted, the tomorrow being reimagined doesn’t seem to have much room for religious or political conservatives within the company. Left-leaning cast members are free to promote their agenda and organize on company time using company resources. They call their fellow employees ‘bigots’ and pressure TWDC [The Walt Disney Company] to use corporate influence to further their left-wing legislative goals.”
Disney’s foray into woke capitalism is a curious choice given prevailing attitudes about this law. It is almost as if the company failed to read the room before prostrating itself before the Church of Wokeism. Multiple polls revealed that a majority of Americans support the measure’s provisions. Floridians for Economic Advancement conducted a survey of “likely Democratic voters,” asking them if they believed “students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade” should “be taught about sexual orientation in the classroom.” About 52% of Democrat-leaning voters indicated they oppose this teaching. Only 36% said they approved.
Morning Consult, in concert with Politico, conducted a similar poll showing comparable results. Researchers found that 50% said they strongly or somewhat support the legislation. Only 37% said they oppose the law’s key provisions.
Nobody can read the minds of Disney’s leadership. But the data should cause one to question why they have chosen to side with those who represent what appears to be a loud fringe element of opinions on the matter. Yes, they would almost surely be labeled as bigots by the far-left progressive crowd if they refused to acquiesce to the mob, but what sense does it make to alienate the majority of Americans, many of which consume the company’s products?
On one hand, it could just be faulty decision-making. Perhaps the company is out of touch with its customer base and believes that by virtue signaling in this manner, it will earn more profit. But it is also possible that those running Disney are true believers and are sincerely standing up for a cause in which they believe. Perhaps they do not think this move will negatively impact the bottom line. Either way, this story shows companies like Disney are going against the tide with this and other matters, and they might not be as impervious to the consequences as they seem to think.
~ Read more from Jeff Charles.
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