TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Disney World in Florida is suspending political donations after the company’s CEO received huge backlash for not using Disney’s vast influence in the state to try to cancel a project recently passed Republican law that would prevent teachers from instructing first years on LGBTQ issues.
Soon after, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis accused the company of being friendly with Communist China.
Democratic state Rep. Anna Eskamani tweeted screenshots of an email Disney CEO Bob Chapek sent to employees saying the company was wrong to remain silent on the issue before the The Republican-dominated Legislature passed what opponents dubbed the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Chapek said the bill was a challenge to human rights and apologized. Meanwhile, DeSantis sent out a campaign fundraising email that read, “Disney is way too deep with the Chinese Communist Party and has lost all moral authority to tell you what to do.”
The governor’s action stunned Republicans and Democrats. Disney is a tourist attraction that is a multi-billion dollar economic engine for the state. When people think of Florida, they think of oranges, beaches and Disney.
Disney poured huge sums of money into political parties and politicians in Florida and wielded incredible influence over the state government.
“The strange hypocrisy of Florida politics right now is that DeSantis was happy to take Disney’s money, but pass a bill that is contrary to the values of their clients and their institution and to use the power of government to beat them – the old days when Florida Republicans were the free market party are well and truly over,” said Rick Wilson, a political operative who has backed Republicans in the past, but spoke out against the culture war that many Republicans are creating.
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