DeSantis tears up Disney for criticizing Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law and calling for it to be repealed

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lashed out at Disney executives on Tuesday — a day after the mouse house condemned the governor’s signing of the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek and other top executives have stepped up their criticism of the GOP-backed legislation after outraged employees publicly condemned their initial response to the controversy.

“For Disney to come out and make a statement and say the law should never have been passed and they will actively work to repeal it – I think one of those things was fundamentally dishonest. But two, I think that crossed the line,” DeSantis said at a news conference.

“This state is governed by the interests of the people of Florida state. It is not based on the demands of Californian corporate management. You do not execute this state. They don’t control this state,” the governor added.

Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis argued that Disney “crossed the line” with his statement.

DeSantis signed Florida HB 1557 Monday, despite critics calling the measure harmful and discriminatory. Florida legislation prohibits teachers from discussing LGBTQ issues, such as sexual orientation or gender identity, with students unless they are in fourth grade or higher.

Shortly after DeSantis signed the law into law, Disney released a scathing statement declaring that it “never should have happened and should never have been written into the law.”

“Our goal as a company is to have this law repealed by the legislature or struck down in court, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to make that happen.” Disney said in a statement.

The statement — Disney’s harshest public comment yet on the Don’t Say Gay law — came after employees held walkouts and protests.

Critics of the company say executives have not done enough to stop the legislation in recent weeks.

Yet a group of employees are on the other side of the problem wrote an unsigned open letter Last week, they argued Disney had embraced what they called “progressive orthodoxy” that created an “environment of fear” for employees who do not champion left-leaning causes.

Bob Chapek
Disney CEO Bob Chapek previously apologized for the company’s initial response to the bill.
Chris Jackson

“The Walt Disney Company has become an increasingly uncomfortable place to work for those of us whose political and religious views are not explicitly progressive,” the letter said. “We calmly watch as our beliefs are attacked by our own employer, and we frequently see those who share our opinions condemned as villains by our own leadership.” The company did not publicly respond to the letter.

Earlier this month, Chapek broke his silence on the bill in an internal memo on March 7, noting Disney’s “unwavering commitment to the LGBTQ+ community.”

But the memo enraged a group of employees at Pixar, who said his words “sounded hollow” and accused Disney executives of censorship.

Disney protest
Disney employees staged walkouts last week to protest the Florida law.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Disney boss eventually apologized for his first memo, stating the company would halt all political donations in the state of Florida.

Chapek also said Disney will meet with DeSantis to discuss the law, but that meeting is pending, according to Bloomberg.

DeSantis has only agreed to hold the meeting if “they limit the discussion to facts about what actually says in the legislation — not to partisan false narratives,” a spokeswoman for the outlet’s governor said.

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment about DeSantis’ recent comments. DeSantis tears up Disney for criticizing Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law and calling for it to be repealed


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