The world’s most famous mouse is in hot water.
A newly released survey commissioned by NBC News found just a mere 33% of respondents had a “very” or “somewhat” positive view of The Walt Disney Company. The new data comes a year after a different polling firm, Public Opinion Strategies, found 77% had a favorable view of the entertainment brand.
Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and an activist known for his critiques of critical race theory, described the apparent fall from favor as “catastrophic reputational damage” for Disney.
The House of Mouse has seen an onslaught of criticism, particularly from parents and Christians, in the wake of CEO Bob Chapek’s decision to deride Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, which was mischaracterized by many in the media as the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Republican legislatures in the Sunshine State have rebuked Disney for condemning the legislation, which prohibits public-school educators from teaching children in pre-K through third grade about gender identity and sexual orientation. The legislation enjoys bipartisan support, with one survey even finding 51% of Democrats back the parental rights bill.
Although he initially sought to sidestep the issue, Chapek has since gone all in, staunchly opposing the parental rights law, set to take effect July 1. He also made clear during internal Disney meetings in April that the company has no plans of backing down in advancing LGBT interests within Disney and through its films and other projects.
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Politicians’ criticism of Disney has not come without cost for the iconic company. Last month, the governor approved legislation to disband Disney’s special Reedy Creek Improvement District, a unique agreement signed into law in May 1967, granting Disney the right to govern itself. You can read more about how it works here.
On Monday, DeSantis announced Florida will likely soon seize control of the special district.
“The path forward is Disney will not control its own government in the state of Florida,” he said during an event in Sanford. “Disney will have to follow the same laws that every other company has to follow in the state of Florida. They will pay their share of taxes, and they will be responsible for paying the debts.”
It is worth noting, though, the conservative governor has not yet specified how precisely he plans to dissolve the decades-old district, which is slated for complete dissolution by June 1, 2023. He did announce Monday he will present a full plan to break up the RCID after the midterm elections in November when he will be on the ballot.
Chapek, for his part, has not yet publicly commented on anything regarding the RDIC or its scheduled disbandment.
The NBC News poll — which surveyed 1,000 adults — also tracked people’s opinions of DeSantis. Disney is slightly outperforming the governor in favorability, 33% to 28%, respectively. Twenty percent said they saw DeSantis in a “very” positive light with the same percentage having a negative perception of the governor.
The new survey comes as worship leader Sean Feucht, a conservative activist, is scheduled to hold a rally outside the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, at 6 p.m. Monday.
In early April, he held a rally outside The Walt Disney Company headquarters in Burbank, California.
During a phone interview with CBN’s Faithwire, he said, “Parents across America were blindsided by the fact that Disney would enable people that are fighting for the sexualization of children, starting in kindergarten. We’re talking about 4-year-olds. It’s one thing to make content. It’s another thing to fight for those that want to groom and sexualize kids.”
“A lot of people are really fired up,” he added. “I] think Christians sometimes — they get way too soft. They don’t realize that they’re powerful. We have a voice that can change things economically for Disney. We have a voice that can change things politically in this country. … We’re called to be salt and light in every part of society. So when issues like this happen, we don’t just back down; we have to stand up.”
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