Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill into law on Monday, and Disney, one of the state's top employers, stated that they would work to have the law repealed. DeSantis, however, would not be bullied by the entertainment powerhouse. The law prevents activists teachers from engaging in grooming behavior with young students.
He spoke about Disney's fight against Florida parents and advocacy for teachers to broach subjects of sex and gender identity with elementary schoolers. "This state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida," DeSantis said. "It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state. They do not control this state."
"It's interesting," DeSantis said, "when like, Disney-owned ABC would put out that on tweet, they'd say, 'Governor DeSantis signs bill to prohibit instruction and sexual identity and gender identity in some grades.' Some grades. Why would they say some grades instead of K through three?"
This has been a tactic across corporate media and among Democrat politicians, to make claims that the three-page bill prevents teachers from discussing age-appropriate matters on sex, sexuality and gender identity with students—it doesn't, and it does not at all stop anyone from saying "gay."
"It's just amazing if you're trying to inform the reader," DeSantis said, "so you saw a lot of this but then 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, it was fundamentally dishonest but two I think that crossed the line."
DeSantis was clear that Disney's wishes to have young children educated in divergent gender and sexuality would have no bearing on his commitment to Florida's parents. But he also noted that, despite their post-bill outrage, Disney had never reached out to the Florida legislature to state their concerns.
"I also thought it was interesting," DeSantis said. "I talked to the Speaker of the House yesterday afternoon. And he said Disney never called them while they were putting us through the House. They didn't seem to have a problem with it when it was going through. If this was such an affront, why weren't they speaking up at the outset and yet they won't."
DeSantis also took issue with Disney's own practices, such as working with China both on bringing their entertainment properties to the communist nation and manufacturing their goods and toys in that country's factories.
"And then for them to say they're going to actively work to repeal substantive protections for parents as a company that is supposedly marketing its services to parents with young children," DeSantis said. "I think they crossed the line and you know, people ask me, you know, kind of about their posture on the bill. I said, you know, what, if we would have put in the bill, that you were not allowed to have curriculum, that discuss the oppression of the Uyghurs in China, Disney would have endorsed that in a second. And that's the hypocrisy of this. And, you know, we're gonna make sure we're fighting back when people are threatening our parents and threatening our kids."
Disney has repeatedly called the Parental Rights in Education the "Don't Say Gay" bill, a term used for the bill by opponents who would like teachers in grades K-3 to initiate conversations about sex, sexuality, and gender identity with the children in their charge. The White House, and others, have also termed it in that way.
It "should never have passed," Disney said, "and should never have been signed into law. Our goal as a company," they went on to say, "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." Disney then states their commitment to those "LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country."