Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was, to say the least, unimpressed by remarks and assurances Disney CEO Bob Chapek made during the 2022 Disney shareholders meeting earlier this week.
“[In] Florida, our policies got to be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not on the musing of woke corporations,” DeSantis told a group of supporters in a video acquired by Fox News.
Chapek had been under increasing pressure to reject the Florida Bill and had drawn much criticism for remaining publicly silent while, he said, working behind the scenes to dissuade Florida from passing the Parental Rights in Education bill, which would forbid the teaching of transgenderism in kindergarten-through-third-grade classes, give parents the right to sue school districts that interfere with parental involvement in the raising of their children, and forbid schools from withholding or encouraging students to withhold information from parents about a student’s “mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.”
On Wednesday, as reported by Deadline, Chapek told Disney investors he and the company opposed the bill and would sign a petition opposing the Florida law and other similar bills being floated across the nation. He also pledged $5 million to LGBTQ groups.
“I understand our political approach, no matter how well intentioned, didn’t quite get the job done,” Deadline quoted Chapek as having said. He later added, “I look forward to visiting with the governor with a small delegation of cast members who are involved in this movement.”
According to Fox News, Chapek told investors, “I called Gov. DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families.”
CNN Business reports that Chapek also said, “The governor heard our concerns and agreed to meet with me and LGBTQ+ members of our senior team in Florida to discuss ways to address them.”
The lattermost remark, one that is tinged with a suggestion that DeSantis might be willing to compromise, seems to have sparked the governor’s desire to reaffirm his commitment to Florida’s House Bill 1557.
“When you have companies that have made a fortune off being family friendly and catering to families and young kids, they should understand that parents of young kids do not want this injected into their kid’s kindergarten classroom,” DeSantis said in the video.
DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw confirmed in a statement that Disney had reached out to the governor and that DeSantis was open to a meeting.
“Governor DeSantis has always been open to hearing from Floridians and having conversations about legislation – as long as those discussions are grounded in facts, not false media narratives,” the statement reads. “The governor’s position has not changed.”
Statement from @GovRonDeSantis Office about today’s call from Disney regarding Florida’s parental rights in education bill: pic.twitter.com/gN0ZdZpeKj
— Christina Pushaw 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) March 9, 2022
Meanwhile, DeSantis questioned Disney’s motivation.
“You have companies, like at Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents’ rights, they’re going to criticize the fact that we don’t want transgenderism in kindergarten, in first grade classrooms,” DeSantis said in the video. “If that’s the hill they’re going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices that you see over there at the hands of the CCP.”
House Bill 1557 has passed the Florida house and senate by votes of 69-to-47 and 22-to-17o, respectively. However, DeSantis has not yet signed the bill into law.