President Joe Biden has condemned Republicans for targeting Disney following its opposition to Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ legislation.
During a fundraiser in Seattle on Thursday (21 April), Biden told attendees, “This is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different deal. Not a joke.”
“And it’s not just Trump”, he added, “it’s the MAGA crowd. It’s all about things that have nothing to do with traditional, conservative doctrine.”
DeSantis – a GOP 2024 Presidential hopeful whose staunch opposition to liberal policies on race, gender and abortion form the fundamental’s of his political imaging – ramped up his feud with Disney after the corporation finally condemned the Parental Rights in Education bill, known informally as ‘Don’t Say Gay’.
The bill restricts public school teachers from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity from K-3 grades and has been slammed for its broad use of language as well as being called “hateful legislation targeting vulnerable students”.
Following huge public backlash, Disney placed a temporary pause on political donations in the state and offered a public apology for its muted stance as the bill progressed its way into law.
In response to Disney’s opposition to the bill, DeSantis said he would not “allow woke corporations to strong-arm our state.”
The company’s status in the state effectively allows Disney to operate as its own municipal government, including the ability to levy tax, build roads, control utilities and operate its own fire department.
“I would say any special privileges that are in law I would like to get rid of generally,” DeSantis said of the move, however this particular legislation change appears to only impact Disney, despite there being more than 1,800 special districts created within Florida.
Democratic state senator Janet Cruz called the strike the “grandest form of bullying that I’ve ever seen” adding, “I have this vision of a mousetrap that we’ve created, and I see us leaning on the neck of the mouse for 12 months, just to step on Mickey’s neck.”
It is estimated that Disney’s parks and services bring in an estimated $75 billion (£58.9 billion) of revenue to central Florida each year.
Meanwhile Reports suggest the move could see Florida counties saddled with $1billion of debt currently owed by Walt Disney World.
Disney has, at the time of writing, not offered public comment on the change in legislation.