Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) war of words with The Walt Disney Company intensified Monday after he signed the Parental Rights in Education bill.
Disney pledged to fight the newfound law, which critics — including Disney — have vociferously dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay bill.” The word “gay” doesn’t actually appear in the text, with the law, in practice, banning educators from teaching about gender identity and sexual orientation from pre-K through third grade.
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DeSantis hit back with his repudiation of what he alleged are Disney’s misplaced values.
“People asked me kind of about their posture on the bill, and I said, ‘You know what? If we would have put in the bill that you were not allowed to have curriculum that discussed the oppression of the Uyghurs in China, Disney would have endorsed that in a second,'” the governor said at a press conference.
He continued, “And that’s the hypocrisy of this, and we’re gonna make sure we’re fighting back when people are threatening our parents and threatening our kids.”
DeSantis was referencing critiques of Disney over the company’s decision to film parts of “Mulan” in the Xinjiang region, all while ignoring the ongoing Uyghur genocide unfolding in the same area.
This topic has repeatedly come up in media and political circles.
“As loud as they are against a state policy they disagree with, Disney has been silent about the ongoing Uyghur Muslim genocide in China — even as they film movies there,” Fox Business’ Houston Keene recently noted.
Considering how staunchly opposed Disney has been to the Parental Rights in Education effort, DeSantis held little back — and accused the entertainment company of crossing a line.
“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,” he said. “But two, I think that crossed the line.”
Statement from The Walt Disney Company on signing of Florida legislation: pic.twitter.com/UVI7Ko3aKS— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) March 28, 2022
Disney at first remained quiet on the bill when the news was still percolating, with CEO Bob Chapek taking heat for refusing to repudiate it. Then, after pressure mounted, Disney went all in.
Now, the company is pledging to help efforts to repeal the law, releasing a statement March 28 that digs its heels in on the matter.
“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 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.”
DeSantis’ spokeswoman Christina Pushaw also piled on this week, telling Fox Business that Disney has “actively endorsed” the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) horrific treatment of Uyugers.
“Disney has actively endorsed the CCP’s mistreatment of ethnic and religious minorities,” she said. “Disney’s live-action film ‘Mulan’ was filmed in Xinjiang, with Uyghur internment camps edited out of the background. Disney actually thanked Xinjiang CCP officials in the credits of the movie.”
This narrative from the DeSantis camp isn’t new, with the Republican governor sending a campaign email earlier this month that read, “Disney is in far too deep with the Communist Party of China and has lost any moral authority to tell you what to do.”
The spat between Disney and DeSantis is showing no signs of calming down.
The Parental Rights in Education bill will become active law July 1.
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