Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during his 2024 presidential launch that nobody “has made Disney more money than me,” and defended his continued feud with the media giant.
“Nobody probably has made Disney more money than me because they were opened [in Florida] during COVID and they were closed in California,” DeSantis said during a Twitter Spaces discussion with Elon Musk on May 24.
DeSantis and Disney first clashed over the Florida Parental Rights in Education Act, a bill making it illegal to discuss sex and gender identity with children below fourth grade, who are usually nine years old or younger. Disney opposed the bill, joining critics who dubbed it the “Don’t Say Gay” bill despite it having no explicit reference to any particular sexual or gender identity.
Since then, DeSantis has stripped Disney of its self-governing status, and has threatened further attacks on the company’s Orlando theme park.
The governor has received growing blowback against his moves, including from some Republicans who have encouraged DeSantis to end the feud.
In the discussion, DeSantis shot back at GOP criticism, saying that “Republicans that are taking Disney’s side, [are] basically showing themselves to be corporatists because these are all corporate goodies.”
“This is not the way you would run a competitive economy. And the arrangement had really outlived its usefulness, but it persisted because Disney was so politically powerful. I think the company’s ethos have changed in a way that’s alienated a lot of people in our legislature and in Florida, and so there was really no justification to keep it,” DeSantis added.
The governor further defended his actions against Disney.
“Florida stands for the protection of children we believe jamming gender ideology in elementary school is wrong,” DeSantis said. “Disney obviously supported injecting gender ideology in elementary school.”
DeSantis said that the move to strip Disney of its self-governing status and their defeat over the Parental Rights in Education “was a big deal because for 50 years, anytime Disney wanted something in Florida politics, they pretty much got it.
“But not this time.”
DeSantis said Disney wanted to “inject matters of sex into the programming for the youth.
“I think a lot of parents including me look at that and say that’s not appropriate. I mean, we want our kids to be able to just be kids.”
DeSantis said that “Florida basically put them on a pedestal many decades ago and joined the state with this one company at the hip.”
But after Disney’s opposition to the parental rights bill, he said, he and other Florida lawmakers “didn’t feel comfortable maintaining that relationship. So now, Disney has to live under the same laws as everybody they’ve got to pay the same taxes as everybody and obviously, they’ll be responsible for those debts [to Florida municipalities].”
‘Book Banning’ Is a ‘Hoax’
DeSantis also addressed allegations that he was “banning books,” calling it a “hoax.”
Under DeSantis’ watch, some sexually explicit books have been removed from children’s school libraries.
These include books like Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer,” a book about a female who identifies as a male. The book portrays sexual scenes between the protagonist and another biological female who identifies as male. Another book that’s been removed from Florida libraries is “Flamer,” a book featuring semi-nude homosexual scenes of a minor boy and a camp counselor.
Others go even further, displaying full genitalia in sexual contexts.
The content of some of the books was so graphic that news shows had to cut the feed when DeSantis showed photos from the books.
“If it’s too graphic for the six o’clock news, how is it okay for a sixth grader or a fifth grader?” DeSantis said.
These books have not been banned from purchase in the state of Florida, but they are unavailable for checkout from some children’s libraries.
Critics of removing these books have said this amounts to “book banning,” and some have gone so far as to compare the move to Nazi programs.
“The whole book ban thing is a hoax,” DeSantis said. “There’s not been a single book banned in the state of Florida. You can go buy or use whatever book you want.
“What we have done is empowered parents with the ability to review the curriculum to know what books are being used in school. And then to ensure that those books match state standards and our age and developmentally appropriate.”
From The Epoch Times