I get a lot of texts from Donald Trump these days. OK, not from him, but from his campaign. I got one today that asked me to take a survey. Sure! I love surveys.
The first question was about Disney and whether or not they were too “woke” now because they aren’t openly hostile toward LGBTQ+ people. Because being openly hostile to LGBTQ+ people is very much in fashion for Republicans right now.
The reason right-wingers are so mad at Disney right now is because Disney dared to challenge, however tepidly and belatedly, the “Don’t Say Gay” bill Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just signed into law.
“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,” reads a statement Disney posted on Twitter. “Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.”
How brave of them.
The statement continues, ““We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.”
It’s good that Disney is publicly against HB 1557 now. It sucks that they didn’t fight it while it made its way through the legislature and onto the governor’s desk. And it really sucks that Disney had no problem giving big campaign contributions to the very Republicans who created this bill in the first place. Even as the GOP veered so far to the right they’ve alienated thinking people and have become the home of anti-democracy white supremacist Q Anon conspiracy theorist loons. And evangelical Christians. A lot of overlap there, though.
And now DeSantis is pissed.
“Disney has alienated a lot of people now,” DeSantis said at a recent press conference. “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?”
Believe it or not, the “special privileges in the law” DeSantis is talking about aren’t about LGBTQ+ people, even though that’s how any laws to protect LGBTQ+ people anywhere have always been framed by people opposed to us. No, these special privileges are about Disney as a company and how it operates in Florida.
The state has given the company a lot of perks and freedom to, like, practically rule itself. Which, I’ll admit, seems kind of weird and maybe should be looked at? Like, the power we give to corporations and stuff in the U.S. is wild, especially when we say, “Gosh, we just don’t have the money to [insert anything that could actually help people who need help and make life easier for the average American]” while we let some of the biggest companies pay no taxes at all.
But to retaliate against the company by saying, “Nice situation you got here, Disney. Would be a shame if something happened to it,” because Disney doesn’t support a shameful and hateful law that the majority of the country doesn’t support. That’s pretty sick.
But DeSantis is a man of principle. And that principle is to be a hateful ignoramus.
“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,” DeSantis told reporters. “This wokeness will destroy this country if we let it run unabated. So in Florida we take a very big stand against that.”
Oh, FFS. The man just signed a bill that attempts to erase the existence of LGBTQ+ people in his state, a state that only six years ago was the site of the mass shooting of 49 people in a gay night club, and yet Disney is the one imposing an ideology by daring to object?
Among the things Republicans are threatening? Not extending Disney’s copyrights, meaning Mickey Mouse could become public domain. Meaning you could finally open that Mickey Mouse Etsy shop you’ve been dreaming of without getting a cease and desist letter.
Now Disney is “pausing all political donations in Florida as it reviews its approach to advocacy,” according to CNBC. All political donations. Meaning they’re not interested in helping Democrats assume power in Florida.
But who knows? Maybe Disney will finally see these radicalized Republicans for the villains they are.
D’Anne Witkowski is a writer living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBTQ+ politics for nearly two decades. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.