DeSantis’ Plan to Punish Disney World

“We say gay!” Students in Florida are staging walk-outs in response to new legislation preventing LGBTQ+ curriculum in primary schools, NPR reports1. Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law, it was signed into effect in late March by Governor Ron DeSantis (R), citing “education over indoctrination.”

LGBTQ and youth organizations such as the Trevor Project and Human Rights Campaign have openly spoken against the bill, but one major corporation’s statement could lead to consequences. The Walt Disney Company, manager of Disney World parks in Tampa, have publicly denounced the bill.

“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law. Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.” an official statement from Twitter read.

In response, Florida’s house of representatives passed a law in April removing Disney’s special tax status, which gave the park the ability to run like a self-governing territory with its own facilities, a report from Reuters explains. The law will take effect in June, and is expected to cause the park to fork over extra in taxes as punishment for speaking out. 

Mrs. Gick Von-Ohlen, an advisor of the Gay Straight Alliance, offered comment on how the legislation will effect the average classroom.

“Public Education is a place to open your mind,” she said.  “If a teacher is asked a question, it should be answered if possible.  Or say I don’t know, I will get back to you.  I also understand parents feeling that they are losing control of what is being taught. “

Since public schools also take the impact of parents into account, she had this to say on the weight of parents on school material.

“If parents don’t want their children to be part of it, opt out as a choice. “ she said. How in the world do you ban a word?  Too much control.”

Disney earns 17 billion a year according to Statistica, with some profits generated from parks as well as products. While the taxes may not pose a huge risk to their profit, the legislation against them may reveal a precedent. 

“The local municipalities are benefiting from Disney. Disney is a huge corporation and they will recover.  I’m surprised that a Republican would go after big business.”

The switch has been deemed a “culture war” by various news outlets. Polls are varied and often are biased in the media on how people perceive and view this law, FAIR media describes. 

“We were a conservative family when it came to military issues, but very liberal when it came to social issues.  I had an Uncle who was Gay, my father’s baby brother.  I grew up with acceptance from everyone.”

A provision of HB 1557 prohibits discussions of sexuality and gender identity “in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” 

“Gay is and will always be a hot word, “ Ms. Gick said. “Whether it’s in a school or in a home, it draws attention.”

Rizwana Ishaq

Salutations! My name is Rizwana and I’m a big news fan. Journalism is so important to me because it establishes the art of fair, comprehensive coverage as a universal constant. To write is to breathe. I have always felt liberated by the pen. I wish that by covering general news I can gather information that is consumable, and free. Viva creativity!