Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday that the Walt Disney Company “crossed the line” when it announced its intention to repeal the Parental Rights in Education bill, which DeSantis signed into law on Monday.
Disney put out the following statement after the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill was officially signed into law.
“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,” the company said. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.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.”
During a press conference in Tallahassee on Tuesday, DeSantis told reporters, “For Disney to come out and put a statement and say that the bill should have never passed and that they are going to actively work to repeal it, I think one was fundamentally dishonest, but two, I think that crossed the line.”
He added: “this state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state. They do not control this state.”
The state of Florida is governed according to the interests of the people, not according to the political posturing of corporate executives in California.
We will never allow corporate influence to repeal the substantive rights of parents in our state. pic.twitter.com/vEDEKekcaH
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 29, 2022
DeSantis also took a shot at Disney for taking such a strong stand to appease the LGBTQ+ lobby in the United States, while disregarding human rights abuses in Communist China where it invested billions in a movie, and in a Shanghai theme park.
The company has worked assiduously to court relations with Beijing and avoid giving offense — to an extent that has drawn it into political controversy in the U.S. Last year, the entertainment giant was castigated by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and faced a boycott campaign against its $200 million live-action version of “Mulan” after filming some scenes in Xinjiang, where as many as 1 million Uyghurs are alleged to have been forced into detention camps.
“If we would have put in the bill that you’re not allowed to have curriculum that discussed the oppression of the Uyghurs in China, Disney would have endorsed that in a second,” he quipped.
The “Parental Rights in Education” law—which never mentions the word “gay”—prohibits Florida educators from teaching or discussing sexual orientation and gender identity issues to school children in kindergarten through third grade, and enables parents to sue if they believe schools or instructors have violated the law.
“Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards,” the law states.
Ron DeSantis fires back at Disney for opposing the parents rights bill:
"Corporate executives do not run this state… If we would’ve put in the bill that you are not allowed to discuss the oppression of the Uyghurs in China, Disney would’ve endorsed that in a second.” pic.twitter.com/VQ3rXY486K
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) March 29, 2022
DeSantis said during the signing ceremony on Monday that he would not be deterred from doing the right thing for parents.
“We will continue to recognize that in the state of Florida parents have a fundamental role in the education, healthcare, and wellbeing of their children,” the governor declared. “I don’t care what corporate media outlets say, I don’t care what Hollywood says, I don’t care what big corporations say. Here I stand. I’m not backing down. ”
In Florida, we affirm the fundamental role that parents have in the education, health and development of their children. pic.twitter.com/81Xza0HAWa
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) March 28, 2022