OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz is expressing his support for lawmakers in his home state of Florida amid reports some of them, along with Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, are considering repealing some or all of the Disney Company’s special privileges and self-governing status following the entertainment behemoth’s public attacks against newly enacted parental rights legislation, mischaracterized by left-wing critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
In a Twitter post, the U.S. congressman began: “Things that scare Disney” before listing them:
- Municipal dissolution
- Copyright expiration
- Combined reporting
“I’m the former Finance & Tax Chairman of the Florida House and I know of what I speak. DMs open for FL legislators,” he continued, adding: “I’ll tell you how to trap this rodent.”
Things that scare Disney:
I’m the former Finance & Tax Chairman of the Florida House and I know of what I speak.
DMs open for FL legislators.
I’ll tell you how to trap this rodent. https://t.co/ZKs3Zv6A2s
— Matt Gaetz (@mattgaetz) April 2, 2022
Gaetz also put a link in his post to a story quoting DeSantis as saying he doesn’t believe that Disney ought to have its special status and privileges.
“They have gotten incredible treatment from the Florida legislature and are treated on a pedestal, this one corporation is treated differently than anybody else,” DeSantis noted. “That is not something I’ve ever supported. In the legislature, you see a move to reevaluate the special privileges.”
DeSantis and Florida Republicans have been at odds with the state’s largest over the “Parental Rights in Education” bill, which bars teachers from talking about sexual orientation and transgender topics with youngsters from kindergarten through the third grade.
Republican backers of the bill, including the governor, have defended it, saying such topics are not appropriate for younger children because they are not yet mentally developed enough to handle the intricacies and complexities of those subjects.
The governor signed the measure last week, which prompted Disney to release a statement vowing to assist in the legal effort to get the law overturned by a court.
“Florida’s HB 1557, also known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, should never have passed and should never have been signed into law,” said a statement from Disney, which posted the message on its corporate Twitter feed.
“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that,” the statement continued.
However, DeSantis is now actively considering revoking the special self-governing status awarded the company by the state when Disney decided to put a new theme park in the Sunshine State in 1967.
Noting that Disney “has alienated a lot of people now” during comments to reporters in West Palm Beach on Thursday, the governor added: “And so the political influence they’re used to wielding, I think has dissipated. And so the question is, why would you want to have special privileges in the law at all? And I don’t think that we should.”
“Over many, many decades…they’ve gotten incredible treatment from the Florida legislature and they are treated on a pedestal, this one corporation is treated differently than everybody else,” DeSantis told Fox & Friends on Friday.
“That’s not something I’ve ever supported,” he said. “But now in the Legislature, you see a movement to reevaluate those special privileges. And so at the end of the day, I think Disney has gotten over its skis on this.”
“There’s policy disputes and that’s fine, but when you’re trying to impose a woke ideology on our state, we view that as a significant threat,” he added. “This wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated. So in Florida we take a very big stand against that.”