When it comes to Disney’s attack on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Parental Rights in Education law, the Governor is not necessarily ready to let the past be past, but Disney’s CEO is regretting the company having problems with the sunny state of Florida.
It was the Walt Disney Co. that started the feud after returning CEO Robert Iger extended an olive branch, said DeSantis, while reportedly also telling employees at a recent town hall that he wanted to “quiet things down” and was “sorry to see us dragged into that battle.”
The Republican governor took issue with Iger’s use of the passive voice. In a recent interview on Fox News with host Tucker Carlson, DeSantis said: “We didn’t drag them in, Tucker. They went in on their own, and not only opposed the bill, they threatened to get it repealed.” The bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in grades K-3. The bill was derided by foes as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The governor said that these are parents’ rights, important policies in our state that are very popular, said the Washington Times. “And so they brought this on themselves,” said DeSantis.
Disney released a statement after DeSantis signed the bill in March, in which they said that “our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts.” The response from the Republican-led state legislature was to pass bills to dissolve the special administrative status of the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. According to a recording obtained by Manhattan Institute senior fellow Christopher Rufo, Iger characterized the political turmoil as “distracting,” adding that “to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I’m going to do that.”
Iger was brought back by Disney recently to replace CEO Bob Chapek. “I was sorry to see us dragged into that battle,” said Iger. “The state of Florida has been important to us for a long time. And we have been very important to the state of Florida. That is something I’m extremely mindful of and will articulate if I get the chance,” he added.
According to the New York Times, he also expressed support for the company’s commitment to LGBTQ “storytelling.” “One of the core values of our storytelling is inclusion and acceptance and tolerance, and we can’t lose that,” Iger said. “We’re not going to make everyone happy all the time, and we’re not going to try to,” he explained.
On the other side, DeSantis said that all he did was “stand up for what’s right.” “And, yes, they’re a big, powerful company,” said the governor. “But you know what? We stand up for our folks. And I don’t care what a Burbank-based California company says about our laws,” DeSantis concluded.