DeSantis Explains Why He Went To War With Disney

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis explained why he went to war with the Disney corporation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed late Tuesday.

The governor signed legislation revoking Disney’s special privileges and self-governing status established under the 1967 Reedy Creek Improvement Act. The new legislation, HB 9-B, established a new-state controlled district, a five-member state control board and requires the corporation to pay taxes to the state.

DeSantis wrote in the op-ed that Disney’s special status is an “indefensible example of corporate welfare” that allowed the corporation to violate state fire safety codes and use eminent domain on private property outside of its district. He took action against the company after its opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, which prohibits classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender ideology in kindergarten through third grade.

“The question many people asked me after the Disney face-off was: Why would a company like Disney tarnish its family-friendly brand, built up over almost 100 years, by publicly aligning itself with the fringe left’s agenda to limit the rights of parents to have a say in what is taught to very young children?” The answer lies in how the left has pressured big companies like Disney to use their power to advance the woke political agenda,” DeSantis wrote.

The governor pinpointed to two observations leading to corporations’ political influences, the first being that “loud and militant” employees use their voices to cause executives to reflect their political views. The second, he said, is a “woke CEO” at a major corporation like Disney using their power to influence society. (RELATED: Gov. Ron DeSantis Pushes Back Against Some Fellow Republicans’ Opposition To Ending Disney’s Self-Governing Status)

“The regrettable upshot of the woke ascendancy is that publicly traded corporations have become combatants in battles over American politics and culture, almost invariably siding with leftist causes. It is unthinkable that large companies would side with conservative Americans on the Second Amendment, the right to life, election integrity or religious liberty,” he said.

He further argued that weakening the power structure of corporate America best serves the American people and the economy, and is a portrayal of free-market enterprise. This appears to be responding directly to some fellow Republicans who have opposed this latest move by arguing that a state government should not interfere with private companies.

“In this environment, old-guard corporate Republicanism isn’t up to the task at hand. For decades, GOP elected officials have campaigned on free-market principles but governed as corporatists—supporting subsidies, tax breaks and legislative carve-outs to confer special benefits on entrenched corporate interests. But policies that benefit corporate America don’t necessarily serve the interests of America’s people and economy,” the op-ed wrote.

“When corporations try to use their economic power to advance a woke agenda, they become political, and not merely economic, actors. In such an environment, reflexively deferring to big business effectively surrenders the political battlefield to the militant left. Having private companies wield de facto public power isn’t in the best interests of most Americans,” he continued.