Two weeks ago, Disney thought it was making the running over one of the hot-button political issues of our time. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis introduced the state’s Parental Rights in Education bill, which bans kindergarten through third-grade classes from instructing young students on gender identity or sexual orientation.
This was labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill and with the full weight of showbusiness and the Democrat Party behind it, and spurred on by a vocal internal lobby, Disney came out against DeSantis and the bill. Democrats even warned in the Washington Post that Republicans would lose over the issue as Disney is “the third rail of Florida politics”.
Well, as a past British Prime Minister once reminded his party, Twitter is not real life and Disney has realized this a little too late.
DeSantis came out swinging. Dubbed a homophobic internally at Disney, he began to openly discuss cutting off Disney and canceling their tax advantages via the Reedy Creek Development District. This is where Disney is effectively their own local government on their own property in Florida.
At the same time, Disney’s own customers from the Mid-West through to Florida itself were coming out against the company’s approach. Op-ed pieces, television appearances, and public-opinion polls all showed Disney was not supported here. Then the leak happened, and the world got to see a progressive senior leadership team openly discussing a “not-so-secret gay agenda.”
A Disney insider leaked to online outlets that the volume of calls coming in over the phones, all negative about the company approach, has been huge. These calls have all been expressing alarm at:
“[Disney’s] support for sexualizing kids in kindergarten.”
A Florida lawmaker has spoken out, saying this approach was quite clearly a policy decision made in California. ays in the piece that he believes Disney’s decision to denounce the parental-notification bill was made in California and that:
“No matter how left-wing the state a Disney executive may be sitting in, he should understand that his customers come from a wide range of political convictions, and he should decline to wade into political controversies.”
Many survey respondents asked about the Disney approach openly say they would be less likely to do business with the company over concerns of sexualizing children’s content. Disney Vacation Club members were canceling memberships, and there was talk of coordinated shareholder action. Even staff came out internally against the Disney approach.
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) April 7, 2022
As a result of all this, Disney is stepping entirely away from the position and adopting the tried and tested PR tactic of keeping completely quiet and refusing to talk about it until it all blows over, refusing to return calls on the subject to both legacy press and online outlets alike.