As Disney continues to find itself surrounded by controversy, more news has come out about the company’s stance on Florida’s newest bill.
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Disney donated a hefty sum to Florida Republicans prior to the now-infamous “Don’t Say Gay” controversy that the company is now embroiled in. Earlier this year we reported on how The Walt Disney Company had donated to key sponsors of this bill but now, more information has come out about the specifics of the donations.
Commonly referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, this piece of legislation is as simple as the title. As stated by NPR, “The legislation prohibits any instruction about sexuality or gender between kindergarten and third grade, or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” As reported by Florida Politics, in January, The Walt Disney Company sent the Republican Party of Florida two donations totaling a sum of $125,000 during the first weeks of this year’s Legislative Session.
The contributions came before the company announced a halt on political donations in the Sunshine State over Florida Republicans’ support for legislation targeting classroom discussions about LGBTQ topics.
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The first contributions came on January 11, just days after Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley filed his version of the bill and the same day Williston Republican Rep. Joe Harding filed his version which ultimately became law.
However, by the time Disney sent an additional $25,000 to RPOF on January 26, critics had already been hammering the company for backing the bill despite preaching inclusivity. This led to a firestorm of controversy and backlash online and in person, leading to an employee walkout just a few weeks ago. Disney CEO Bob Chapek has become something of a figurehead for the company as it struggles to find its footing in this controversy, with many wondering how long he will last in the position.
Disney’s dispute with Florida has grown outside of just the Parks, with some conservatives calling on others to boycott Disney’s parks, movies, and entertainment as a whole. Some Florida legislators have even been working on removing the Reedy Creek Improvement Act as a response to Disney’s stance on the bill.
As stated by Florida Politics, the bill, officially called “Parental Rights in Education” legislation will prevent instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity between kindergarten and third grade. Its language limits instruction about those topics in later grade levels to “age-appropriate” discussions. Additionally, and more importantly, it will allow parents to sue schools if they believe school instruction broke the law according to this new bill.
How do you feel Disney has handled this situation?
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