After Confrontation with DeSantis, DisneyWorld Holds ‘Gay Rights’ Summit
The tensions between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continue to intensify with the House of Mouse’s latest move: hosting a significant conference promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights in what has been called a defiant display.
Disney’s decision to host the conference starting this September comes as the latest move in a yearlong dispute between the corporation and Florida’s Governor, who recently signed a law that ended decades of unique autonomy that Disney had previously enjoyed. However, Disney managed to retain some privileges. The move came on the heels of Disney publicly announcing its opposition to the Parental Rights in Education Bill that DeSantis championed, which has been branded the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by some critics. In reality, the bill never mentions the word gay. Still, it does prohibit discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity for students below the third grade and mandates age-appropriate discussion of the topics for older students.
The Governor then explained that it was always a bad policy, but Disney’s defiance was a welcome optics springboard.
“Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region.This legislation ends Disney’s self-governing status, makes Disney live under the same laws as everybody else, and ensures that Disney pays its debts and fair share of taxes.”
While DisneyWorld hosts, long-standing and major corporate donor Out and Equal is behind the event. The event will be hosted this and next fall, coinciding with DeSantis’ likely presidential run. Out and Equal’s website describes the Summit.
“Over more than 20 years, Summit has grown to become the preferred place to network and share strategies that create inclusive workplaces, where everyone belongs and where LGBTQ+ employees can be out and thrive.”
Dozens of iconic American companies are sponsoring the event, including Apple, McDonald’s, Walmart, Hilton, Amazon, Cracker Barrel, and John Deere. Moreover, several Governmental agencies, like the State Department and the CIA, are listed as government partners and will have booths at the conference.
DeSantis has condemned the spread of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ideology (DEI), including in private corporations which “advance woke ideology through its employee ranks — and virtue signal in the process.”
Still, the event seems like a swing and a miss at the Governor, as none of DeSantis’s policies oppose events like this. Palm Bay Republican Randy Fine even told the Miami Herald that he’s not sure this is a shot at DeSantis at all.
“I’m not willing to interpret it as some grand conspiracy to stick it in the eye of the state of Florida. Disney is part of the fabric of the Florida economy. … If they weren’t holding any conferences at Disney World, that would be news because that would be a big problem.”
Fine continued to elaborate that Orlando is an attractive location for any conference, stating the Florida legislature used to hold meetings there “before all this woe stuff took over.”