DeSantis slams Disney CEO for opposing Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill

DeSantis slams Disney CEO for opposing Florida's 'Don't Say Gay' bill
Ron DeSantis speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, Gage Skidmore

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) recently took aim at Disney in response to CEO Bob Chapek's condemnation of the state's controversial "Don't Say Gay" bill.

According to Newsweek, the bill —also referred to as the Parental Rights in Education Bill— recently passed Florida's legislation and "prohibits 'classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity' in certain grade levels in schools." The bill will also "ban the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in schools for children under the age of 10."

On Wednesday, March 9, Chapek released a statement expressing opposition toward the bill. According to CNN, Chapek also noted Disney's commitment to donating $5 million to organizations advocating for LGTBQ+ rights and would sign the Human Rights Campaign's statement

"While we have been strong supporters of the community for decades, I understand that many are upset that we did not speak out against the bill," Chapek said. "We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle."

In defense of the bill, DeSantis slammed Disney for its criticism of the bill and raised questions about the media company's ties to China. Speaking at an event in Boca Raton, Fla., DeSantis said, "You have companies like at Disney, that are going to say and criticize parents' rights, they're going to criticize the fact that we don't want transgenderism in kindergarten, in first-grade classrooms."

"If that's the hill they're going to die on, then how do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that's what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don't say a word about the really brutal practices that you see over there at the hands of the CCP."

DeSantis' spokeswoman Christina Pushaw also released a statement about the ordeal with Disney. "Disney contacted our office today to speak with the governor. This is the first time we have heard from Disney regarding HB 1557," Pushaw said. "The governor did take the call from Mr. Chapek. The governor's position has not changed. No in-person meeting has been scheduled yet."

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