Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Claims Disney’s Florida-Based Employees Supported Him in Feud Over Education Policy
In an exclusive interview with OutKick’s Clay Travis, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a potential candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, revealed that Disney’s Florida-based employees sided with him during the company’s dispute with the governor over education policy. The controversy stemmed from Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law, often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in lower grade levels in classrooms.
According to DeSantis, the support for the law among Disney’s employees in Florida was notably stronger compared to their colleagues in southern California. When protests erupted over the bill’s introduction, DeSantis noticed a stark contrast between Burbank and Orlando. While the Burbank employees were actively protesting, the response from Disney’s Florida workforce was relatively muted, with only one individual demonstrating against the bill.
Governor DeSantis argued that Disney’s opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Law highlighted a disconnect between the company and parents who wanted to ensure age-appropriate classroom discussions about sexual issues for their children. However, despite the heated feud and opposition from the entertainment giant, DeSantis pointed to his 2022 election results in traditionally Democrat-leaning counties in Florida, where many Disney employees reside, as evidence of their support for his stance.
“The reality with that company is that their own employees by and large sided with me in Florida. Osceola County is where the majority of Disney employees live. I did better than any Republican has done in a generation. It’s usually a blue county, and I won it by 7 or 8%,” DeSantis said.
Furthermore, Governor DeSantis asserted that Disney had experienced negative consequences due to the fallout from the feud. The company’s theme park attendance reportedly fell short of expectations, and DeSantis attributed this decline to Disney’s inclusion of social agendas in its movies, which he believed did not align with the preferences of the viewing public.
“I think it’s hurt their company in terms of what’s happened with their share price, people going to their parks. Their movies — their movies intentionally are trying to pursue an agenda, a social agenda in very different ways. That’s not where the market is. The market wants you to do traditional stuff, in particular for parents with children,” he said.
The Florida Governor emphasized that Disney’s Florida properties had benefited from his decision to swiftly reopen the state’s economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He even revealed that he had urged the company not to close its parks when they initially considered doing so.
“They made a fortune in Florida,” DeSantis said. “In fact, I remember Disney — they could’ve even opened earlier — I was telling them to open. In fact, I told them not to close. … They called me and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to close, it could be a few days.’ And I was like, ‘This could be rash, you may want to think this through.'”
Amidst the discussion on Disney and Governor DeSantis, it was revealed that the Governor had a personal connection with the company as well. He shared that he had tied the knot with his wife Casey at Disney World, adding a touch of sentimental value to the ongoing dispute.
“My wife came to me one day, she’s like, ‘What do you think about Disney?’ and I’m like, ‘What do you mean what do I think about Disney?’ She’s like, ‘For the wedding,’ and I was like, ‘Do they do weddings? Can you do Cinderella’s castle?’ She’s like, ‘No, they have a chapel,’” DeSantis said.
In conclusion, the clash between Governor Ron DeSantis and Disney over education policy has brought to light the differing perspectives within the company’s workforce, with the Florida-based employees expressing more support for the Governor’s stand on the issue. As the feud continues, it remains to be seen how the relationship between the Florida government and Disney will evolve in the future, and what impact it may have on the entertainment giant’s business endeavors.
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