Florida’s Battle: Governor DeSantis vs. Disney – The Clash Over Inclusivity and Values

In recent years, the state of Florida has been the battleground for a heated conflict between Governor Ron DeSantis and the Walt Disney Company. The clash began in 2022 when DeSantis introduced the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which banned classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.[0] Disney, a company known for its commitment to inclusivity and diversity, opposed this law and publicly condemned it after fan and cast member protests.

DeSantis, a conservative governor, has long been critical of what he perceives as “woke corporations” like Disney. He has accused these companies of using their power to promote a “woke agenda” and has vowed to fight back against them. In an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, DeSantis argued that leaders like himself must prevent these corporations from dominating the political landscape and ceding it to the “militant left.”

The conflict between DeSantis and Disney intensified when the company openly opposed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. DeSantis warned former Disney CEO Bob Chapek not to involve himself with the law, but Disney went against his wishes and condemned it.[1] This further fueled the animosity between the two sides.

As a result of their opposition to the law, Disney and DeSantis have been locked in a legal battle. The two sides recently asked a federal judge to set a trial date, with Disney proposing a start date of July 15th, 2024.[2] However, DeSantis’s team has proposed a trial date that would take place after the 2024 Presidential election, specifically on August 4, 2025.[2]

The conflict between DeSantis and Disney has had significant consequences for both parties. DeSantis claims that there is a boycott of Disney, with parents boycotting both the company’s theme parks and movie releases.[3] He argues that parents do not want an “agenda” forced upon them or their children. DeSantis believes that this boycott has led to a decrease in foot traffic and ticket sales for Disney, which he blames on what he calls a “cadre of woke executives in Burbank.”

Disney, on the other hand, is Florida’s largest single-site employer and has brought billions of tourist dollars to the state.[4] The company has been instrumental in putting Orlando on the map as a top tourist destination. Many argue that DeSantis’s actions could harm the state’s economy and reputation.

The clash between DeSantis and Disney has also had an impact on the company’s stock. Shares of Walt Disney Co. have experienced a modest increase this year, significantly underperforming the S&P 500 Index.[5] KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Brandon Nispel downgraded Disney’s stock, citing disappointing performance of domestic theme parks and weak results from its direct-to-consumer streaming business.[5] Additionally, a recent poll showed a drop in Disney’s favorability ranking since the clash with DeSantis.[6]

DeSantis has advised Disney to focus on family and traditional values, suggesting that the company has strayed from what made it an “All American” company.[5] He implied that the company’s founder, Walt Disney, would not have wanted children to be sexualized the way DeSantis believes Disney has done.[3]

The conflict between DeSantis and Disney is far from over. The trial date for their legal battle has yet to be set, and the repercussions of this clash continue to unfold. It remains to be seen how this conflict will ultimately impact both parties and the state of Florida as a whole.

0. “Why doesn’t Gov. DeSantis want a trial with Disney until 2025? | Editorial” Tampa Bay Times, 6 Jul. 2023, https://www.tampabay.com/opinion/2023/07/06/why-doesnt-gov-desantis-want-trial-with-disney-until-2025-editorial

1. “DeSantis Seriously Wrecks Florida Tourism Industry, “They’re Really Suffering”” Inside the Magic, 11 Jul. 2023, https://insidethemagic.net/2023/07/desantis-wrecks-tourism-industry-florida-jc1/

2. “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Proposes Disney Lawsuit Trial Start Date Following the 2024 Presidential Election” Laughing Place, 2 Jul. 2023, https://www.laughingplace.com/w/news/2023/07/02/desantis-proposes-disney-lawsuit-trial-start-date/

3. “Ron DeSantis Says Disney Movies, Theme Parks Suffering Because Parents Don’t Want an ‘Agenda Shoved Down Their Throat’ (Video)” Yahoo Entertainment, 10 Jul. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/ron-desantis-says-disney-movies-191137949.html

4. “Comments for DeSantis Bombshell May End Disney Lawsuit for Good” Inside the Magic, 10 Jul. 2023, https://insidethemagic.net/2023/07/desantis-bombshell-may-end-disney-lawsuit-once-and-for-all-cm1/comments/

5. “DeSantis Blames ‘Woke Executives In Burbank’ For Disney Getting ‘Bud Light’-ed – Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS)” Benzinga, 11 Jul. 2023, https://www.benzinga.com/general/entertainment/23/07/33182049/ron-desantis-thinks-he-knows-why-disney-is-getting-bud-light-ed-woke-executives-in-burbank-

6. “Ron DeSantis Thinks He Knows Why Disney Is Getting ‘Bud Light’-ed: ‘Woke Executives In Burbank Trying To Impose …” Investing.com UK, 11 Jul. 2023, https://uk.investing.com/news/stock-market-news/ron-desantis-thinks-he-knows-why-disney-is-getting-bud-lighted-woke-executives-in-burbank-trying-to-impose-this-agenda-3079085

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