As Republicans continue to attack Disney for opposing Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law – with the state senate even passing a bill to punish Disney for it – President Joe Biden succinctly summed up what’s happening: the “far right has taken over the party.”
At a fundraiser yesterday, Biden was asked about how Florida Republicans passed a bill to take away Disney World’s self-governing zone.
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“This is not your father’s Republican party,” Biden responded.
“It’s not even conservative in a traditional sense of conservatism. It’s mean, it’s ugly. Look at what’s happening in Florida: Christ, they’re going after Mickey Mouse.”
The change Biden noticed happened fast. Disney is the largest private employer in Florida and even contributed to a PAC associated with anti-LGBTQ Gov. Ron DeSantis (R).
Records of the contributions found on the Florida Department of State’s database show that four contributions totaling $106,809 were made to the Friends of Ron DeSantis PAC between May 2019 and March 2021.
The contributions may explain why the Disney Corp. was reluctant to speak out against the bill as it made its way through the Florida legislature. Having already invested so much in DeSantis, it took an employee revolt and shaming from Walt Disney’s descendants to get Disney to speak out against the law, which it only did after it had been passed by the legislature.
Now DeSantis has joined other Republicans in vilifying Disney for its opposition to the Don’t Say Gay law, which bans discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, using vague wording the opponents say could lead to teachers banning the children of same-sex couples from talking about their families.
“Disney has alienated a lot of people now,” DeSantis said at a recent news conference. “And so the political influence they’re used to wielding, I think has dissipated. And so the question is, why would you want to have special privileges in the law at all? And I don’t think that we should.”
Disney has not made any campaign contributions so far this year to DeSantis, but they donated $190,000 to help get Republican legislators elected in the state.