DeSantis bashes 'woke' Disney after CEO voices opposition to 'Don't Say Gay' bill

Florida governor says he won't back down from putting parents' rights first
Gov. Ron DeSantis and Bob Chapek
Posted at 1:31 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 13:42:25-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis reaffirmed his commitment to parental rights in Florida schools Thursday during a private appearance in Boca Raton.

"In the state of Florida, we are not going to allow them to inject transgenderism into kindergarten," DeSantis said during a re-election campaign stop in Boca Raton.

DeSantis was referring to a controversial bill that would prohibit classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for students in certain grade levels.

The Republican governor is expected to sign the Parental Rights in Education measure, more commonly referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, into law.

DeSantis has been a proponent of parental rights throughout his time in Tallahassee, pushing policy that made it illegal for school districts to mandate masks in schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

"The chance that I am going to back down from my commitment to students and back down from my commitment to parents' rights simply because of fraudulent media narratives or pressure from woke corporations, the chances of that are zero," DeSantis said.

Those comments seemed to be a retort to Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who told shareholders earlier this week that he had been "opposed to the bill from the outside" but "chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes, engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle."

Disney Speak Out Against Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' sign outside Walt Disney World
Advocates march at a rally at Walt Disney World, spearheaded by advocates from AIDS Healthcare Foundation on Thursday, March 3, 2022, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

"We were hopeful that our longstanding relationships with those lawmakers would enable us to achieve a better outcome, but despite weeks of effort, we were ultimately unsuccessful," Chapek added.

As the bill awaits the governor's signature, Disney has pledged to donate millions of dollars to LGBTQ+ organizations.

"And when you have companies that have made a fortune off being family-friendly and catering to families and young kids, you know, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kids' kindergarten classroom," DeSantis said in defense of the bill. "They do not want their first graders to go and be told that they can choose an opposite gender. That is not appropriate for those kids."

DeSantis' campaign also sent an email to supporters Thursday accusing "woke" Disney of "echoing Democrat propaganda and falling for the corporate media's phony hysteria" about the bill.

Gov. Ron DeSantis campaign email accusing Disney of being 'woke'
An email to supporters blasts Disney for being "woke" and "falling for the corporate media's phony hysteria" as it relates to the Parental Rights in Education bill.

The email also criticized Disney for failing to read the bill and said that DeSantis has requested a member of his staff to "hand deliver a copy of the seven-page bill to Disney" on Monday.

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw confirmed in an email to WPTV on Friday that Disney had requested to speak with the governor, who "did take the call from Mr. Chapek."

"The governor's position has not changed," Pushaw said.