It seems that Disney may be regretting one major decision.
The Walt Disney Corporation donated to the political campaign of Florida State Senator Dennis Baxley, who has become one of the chief sponsors of the state’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney Finds Itself In Hot Water Over ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill
After facing criticism for his initially tepid response to Florida’s so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that the company will pause all political donations in the Sunshine State. pic.twitter.com/OQPZSsnlUa
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) March 11, 2022
The bill, known officially as the Parental Rights in Educational bill, prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms. According to the bill, these lessons, “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.” This bill will allow parents to sue the school or individual teachers if they believe these discussions have been had.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek tried to defend the company, saying, “When we donate money to different political candidates, we have no idea how they’re going to vote going forward into the future” at a shareholders meeting.
In response to the backlash, Disney has come out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which has landed him in hot water with representatives from Florida, who plan to strip the theme park of its self-governing status.
Florida Senate Passes Bill To Strip Disney Of Special District
JUST IN: Disney CEO Bob Chapek just said the company is pausing and “reviewing” all political donations after massive backlash for their silence on Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill. Since 2020, 80%+ of Disney’s donations have gone to Republicans, including every sponsor of the bill.
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) March 11, 2022
According to NBC News, the Florida Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that will dissolve the special taxing district that allows the Walt Disney Corporation to self-govern its theme marks. The bill passed the Republican-controlled measure in a 23-16 vote.
A vote is now required in the state House before it will move to the desk of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis, who asked the Legislature to support the bill during a special session earlier this week.
The legislation will take away Disney’s special district status on June 1 of next year. The special status was granted by state law in 1967 and allows Disney to self-govern by collecting taxes and providing emergency services.
The district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, consists of around 25,000 acres of land in the Orlando area and the districting laws allow the company to build new structures and pay impact fees for construction without needing to obtain the approval of a local planning commission.
DeSantis began targeting the corporation after Disney started speaking out against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill due to backlash from fans and employees. DeSantis has previously stated over the course of the past few weeks that he plans to strip away Disney’s protections and that he doesn’t “support special privileges in law just because a company is powerful.”