Patterico's Pontifications

4/1/2022

Ron DeSantis Calls Out Disney’s Hypocrisy

Filed under: General — JVW @ 10:53 am



[guest post by JVW]

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis earlier this week signed the Parental Rights in Education bill which last week passed through both houses of the Florida Legislature. The new law requires public school districts to provide curriculum information to parents when requested, and prohibits districts from implementing any policy which limits parents from being informed of what is being taught to students or encourages students to withhold information from their parents. It also requires districts to inform parents of any healthcare services offered by or recommended by the district to a student. One of the major points of contention in this bill is the prohibition on “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels,” which is specified as the pre-kindergarten through third grade levels. Opponents of the bill, and the anti-DeSantis brigade in general, quickly dubbed this the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and alleged that LGBTQ students of any age would be marginalized and discriminated against by these new rules. Our corrupt and feckless media being what it is, the appellation hung on the bill by activists stuck and “Don’t Say Gay” quickly became standard nomenclature in most mainstream coverage of the bill.

Particularly grating has been the response from the Disney Corporation, which operates what they claim is the largest single-site employment operation in the United States (77,000 people at Walt Disney World). I half-jokingly pointed out that apart from pre-adolescent girls Disney probably has no market segment more loyal to it than gay men, yet even accounting for that Disney has been hypocritical, demagogic, and shrill in their condemnation of the bill. But yesterday came word that Disney might also be shading the truth about their allegedly principled opposition as well. Here is what the governor had so say about their campaign:

I also thought it was interesting — I talked to the speaker of the [Florida] house yesterday afternoon, and he said that Disney never called him as they were putting this [legislation] 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?

Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowles confirmed that Disney lobbyists had not once mentioned the Parental Rights in Education bill to him, and they apparently did not contact any members of the Florida House either:

What’s more, Sprowls pointed out, is that there is no record of any lobbyist working on behalf of Disney ever having lobbied any member of the Florida House on the bill.

“We checked the action packets for the House Education and Employment, and Judiciary, and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings where HB 1557 was considered,” said Sprowls. “The Walt Disney Corporation did not submit any appearance cards on the bill for any of these meetings. Furthermore, the Florida House requires lobbyists to identify which bills they are lobbying on and no Disney lobbyist registered on HB 1557.”

The registry indicates that Disney had at least 19 different representatives lobbying members of the House on a number of different pieces of legislation in 2021, including the Big Tech bill from which it was granted an exemption. There is no record that a registered lobbyist advocated against HB 1557 for the company.

It would appear that Disney did manage to rouse itself into opposition — right at the time that the coordinated “Don’t Say Gay” media campaign began to rear its ugly head — once the bill made its way to the Florida Senate, but given that Disney seemed to be responding more to an aggressive public relations campaign rather than with a genuine sense of outrage, one can be forgiven for being very cynical about the company’s true motivations.

It’s not as if Disney doesn’t have its radical woke element, even in the corporate suites. On Tuesday, a Zoom video of Disney leadership leaked in which a prominent executive argues that Disney needs to do more to promote gay characters to Disney’s youngest fans:

So with Disney both vowing to fight for the repeal of the Parental Rights in Education law and also having senior-level employees agitating to make LGBTQ issues more prominent in their entertainment options, it seems that a reckoning is now due. There have been some recent developments — the backlash against the success of transgender swimmer Lia Thomas being a prime example — which indicate that the pro-trans movement may be stalling out and perhaps even be headed for some public relations losses. In some polls, strong majorities of Americans register support for the ideas embedded within the Sunshine State’s Parental Rights in Education law, and even a majority of registered Democrats in Florida support the bill if the “Don’t Say Gay” sobriquet is eschewed, though of course modern polling is pretty wretched and of questionable reliability for a variety of reasons. It could be that Disney ends up deeply regretting going out on a limb here, but somehow I doubt that a parent-led boycott of the company will withstand the release of the next princess movie or the opening of a really cool ride in the theme park.

I want to give Ron DeSantis the last word since I always appreciate well-laid derision and because I made this very suggestion to him a couple of weeks ago. As he closed up his remarks seen in the video below (which also has his full remarks about Disney’s lobbying efforts), he went there:

Nicely done, governor. Bravo.

– JVW

16 Responses to “Ron DeSantis Calls Out Disney’s Hypocrisy”

  1. There is a pretty good article on Disney’s back-and-forth over this bill at the Washington Post (available here for non-subscribers). It includes the almost-impossible-to-believe claim that Disney tried to make it up to LGBTQ groups by making a $5 million donation to various supportive groups, only to have the Human Rights Campaign reject their share of the loot. It must have been a relatively small amount, and the HRC is no doubt angling from much more from the very, very, chastened Mouse. And, if the article is to be believed, their groveling is apparently pretty comprehensive.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  2. I want to see what happens when the next Disney “Princess” movie princess has boy parts.

    Kevin M (38e250)

  3. Are we allowed to say “boy parts” anymore? Or is that transphobic?

    “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.”

    Kevin M (38e250)

  4. Great post. Especially pointing out how Disney sings two different tunes when talking about the DeSantis law and the treatment of Uighurs in China.

    The latter doesn’t matter you say?

    Just remember – Disney filmed parts of their new Mulan movie in Xinjiang, where the Chinese have lots of concentration camps. And Disney was brave enough to thank the Chinese government for allowing them to film there.

    Don’t say gay?
    How about don’t say Uighur.

    Hoi Polloi (121542)

  5. He won’t be running for president after those remarks. Much to unawoke for the wokistas.
    Desantis would bury Trump in a debate.

    mg (8cbc69)

  6. Can Desantis and the legislature take away Disney’s preferred tax status?

    mg (8cbc69)

  7. @6 They threatened to do just that:
    https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/rick-moran/2022/04/01/war-desantis-suggests-ending-disneys-special-self-governing-status-n1586118

    Frankly, if they’re going to be political, I don’t mind them losing these special carve-outs.

    whembly (ce5f56)

  8. ‘Corporate executives do not run this state…’

    Hmmm. Might want to double-check the bios of the Florida State legislature– as well as those reps in the U.S. House… and one of your U.S. Senators and the lists of corporate donors to same before making such a general tweet, Ron… tell’em “Rick” sent you. 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  9. @3. Meh. Industry insiders who’ve ever escaped from Disney can tell you it ain’t called ‘Mousewitz’ for nothing. Ol’smoker and drinker Walt wasn’t exactly what he appeared to be every Sunday night in his ‘wonderful world of color’… You may have heard the ol’joke: “How do you get to Mousewitz? Take The Third Reich.” 😉

    DCSCA (f4c5e5)

  10. I understand desantis is planning to run for president. Ne interesting as mr. spock says when he ttys to campaign in california, mew york and other blue states.

    asset (5092ed)

  11. Try again my computer or I messed up. I understand desantis is planning to run for president. Be interesting as mr. spock says when he tries to campaign in california, new york and other blue states. Fixed it.

    asset (5092ed)

  12. Be interesting as mr. spock says when he tries to campaign in california, new york and other blue states. Fixed it.

    Yeah, but he’ll be campaigning to Republican voters during the primaries in those states, so I don’t think he has a reason to sweat it that much. Unless he cares deeply about bitchy editorials in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, and New York Times, and I don’t imagine that he does. If DeSantis or any other Republican is anywhere close to winning California or New York in the general election, then the Republicans are going to be on their way to a 40-state blowout victory.

    JVW (ee64e4)

  13. 5, why do you think T plays YMCA at the rallies (and is vocally pro-vac)?…it’s the 2024 version of the Taco Salad and also a repositioning to become the safe old choice for the hedgebetters and crossover voters

    urbanleftbehind (947c1a)

  14. He could pick up some northeastern (beyond just PA) states if he lets himself get billed as the first eyetalian president.

    urbanleftbehind (947c1a)

  15. @9

    “You may have heard the ol’joke: “How do you get to Mousewitz? Take The Third Reich.”

    No I’ve never heard that stupid joke. I think reports of Walt’s “anti-semitism” are exaggerated at best.

    Modern Disney doesn’t strike me as anything like the company under its founder.

    Bill Watson (8c2bbf)


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