UPDATED with latest: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis today continued inveighing against his state’s largest employer and its stance on HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The Walt Disney Company said Monday through a spokesperson that the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law.” The company committed to fighting HB 1557’s implementation.
After criticizing coverage of the bill by Disney-owned ABC, DeSantis said, “For Disney to come out and put a statement and say that the bill should have never passed and that they are going to work to actively work to repeal it, I think, 1.) was fundamentally dishonest but 2.) I think that crossed the line.”
DeSantis detailed his logic behind the second point.
“For them to say that they’re going to work to repeal substantive protections for parents, as a company that’s supposedly marketing its services to parents with young children, I think they crossed the line.”
He then explained how Democracy is supposed to work.
“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 governor continued, “I also thought it was interesting, I talked to the Speaker of the [Florida] House yesterday afternoon, and he said Disney never called him when they were putting this [bill] through the house. They [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?
Of course, DeSantis failed to mention that he himself spoke with Disney representatives about the bill weeks ago, a fact that the governor’s office confirmed in early March.
Deadline reached out to Disney and will add any comment we receive.
#BREAKING: Gov. Ron DeSantis fires back at Disney after media giant says its "goal" is repeal of Parental Rights in Education Act: "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." pic.twitter.com/4NToMU84bR
— Forbes (@Forbes) March 29, 2022
PREVIOUSLY on Monday at 12:33 p.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back at Disney and others who condemned his signing today of Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The Walt Disney Company, one of the state’s largest employers, said today through a spokesperson that the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law” and committed to fighting its implementation.
DeSantis shot back at “people in Hollywood that are opposed to providing protections for parents and enforcing parents’ rights.”
He continued: “If the people who held up degenerates like Harvey Weinstein as exemplars and as heroes, if those are the types of people and all that that are opposing us on parents’ rights, I wear that like a badge of honor.”
It is unclear whether DeSantis’ Weinstein reference was specifically aimed at Disney, which purchased Miramax from Weinstein and his brother Bob in 1993 and remained in business with them until 2005, or rather a condemnation of Hollywood as a whole.
You can watch his comments below.
DeSantis drops the hammer on Hollywood for their criticisms of Florida at the Oscars last night:
"If the people who held up degenerates like Harvey Weinstein as heroes are opposing us on parents rights, I wear that like a badge of honor."#RETWEEET pic.twitter.com/GgPQE2fTNq
— Kayleigh Kennedy (@KayleighK_Q) March 28, 2022
PREVIOUSLY on Monday at 10:33 a.m.: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday signed a new law that bans instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation for public school children from Kindergarten to the third grade, drawing condemnation from one of the state’s largest employers, The Walt Disney Co.
“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.,” a spokesperson for 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.”
The company had been criticized — from activists to employees — for not speaking out earlier to try to stop the legislation as it made it through the statehouse. Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek acknowledged that it was a mistake not to do so, after earlier saying that the company preferred to work behind the scenes.
DeSantis signed the legislation while surrounded by children.
“We will make sure that parents can send their kids to school to get an education, not an indoctrination,” the governor said, per the AP.
Similar legislation is being proposed in other states, including Georgia, where the entertainment industry has a large production presence.
The bill says that “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.” Parents would be able to sue over violations.
There were references to the bill at the Oscars on Sunday by co-host Wanda Sykes and by Jessica Chastain, as she won the best actress prize for The Eyes of Tammy Faye.
Chapek initially declined to weigh in publicly on the bill, arguing that “as we have seen time and again, corporate statements do very little to change outcomes or minds.” But after a backlash over his comments, he acknowledged, “I understand our political approach, no matter how well intentioned, didn’t quite get the job done.” He also put a pause on the company’s “political giving in Florida and beyond,” as Disney was criticized for past contributions to key sponsors of the bill.
Chapek’s predecessor, Bob Iger, was vocal against the bill, writing on Twitter on Feb. 24 that it would “put vulnerable, young LGBTQ people in jeopardy.”
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