Politics

First Amendment-loving Republicans want to revoke Disney’s “privileges” due to views it expressed

First Amendment-loving Republicans want to revoke Disney’s “privileges” due to views it expressed
Photo: Screenshot, Twitter

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has been publicly slamming Disney ever since the company began speaking out against his Don’t Say Gay bill. Now he is calling for an end to the company’s “special privileges” in Florida.

DeSantis signed the bill on Monday, officially banning elementary school teachers from mentioning LGBTQ people in class.

Related: DeSantis rails against Disney for condemning the “Don’t Say Gay” law

That same day, Disney released a statement saying the bill “should never have passed and should never have been signed into law” and that the company’s goal “is for the law to be repealed by the Legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”

“As a matter of first principle, I don’t support special privileges in law, just because a company is powerful, and they’ve been able to wield a lot of power,” DeSantis said at a recent public appearance.

Disney has reportedly received several legal exemptions throughout its time in Florida, including a 1967 law that gave Walt Disney World the power to create an independent government for its theme park, called the Reedy Improvement District.

Republican state Rep. Spencer Roach tweeted recently that state lawmakers have met twice this week to consider repealing that law – and he made it clear it was because Disney was expressing liberal views.

“If Disney wants to embrace woke ideology, it seems fitting that they should be regulated by Orange County,” Roach wrote.

“I just don’t think you have very many people in the Legislature anymore who are going to be able to defend a lot of what has been done over many, many years to really have them almost govern themselves in some of these things,” said DeSantis. “You know, that was probably never appropriate to start, but it’s certainly not appropriate now.”

DeSantis also complained about a law last year regulating social media outlets, from which Disney was exempt in order to protect Disney Plus. Despite now calling the exemption “ridiculous,” the Orlando Sentinel reports that his office worked directly with Disney to create the law.

The talking heads of Fox News are all in for targeting Disney as well, demanding a state government pass a law punishing a private entity for exercising its free expression.

In a segment from Laura Ingraham, the host explained how the Congress – the exact governing body the First Amendment names – could punish Disney: that trademark and copyrights are regulated by Congress, and Congress can decide to change them whenever it wants, making something like the image of Mickey Mouse available for use in the public domain.

And in a recent appearance on Fox News, U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) affirmed Ingraham’s threat.

“If they’re going to attack the American laws that are being put in place by duly elected governors and representatives at the state level, they don’t deserve all the special American laws and protections that are granted to their company. So I wrote Disney a letter today and I said when your copyright laws expire, which is coming up in the next few years…I’m not gonna vote for it. I’m not gonna vote for special laws that help Disney when Disney is attacking American values on a regular basis.”

Jeopardy! champ Amy Schneider took questions at the White House Press Briefing Room

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