Florida Governor Ron DeSantis wrote an article published in the Wall Street Journal titled “Why I Stood Up to Disney.” A few days ago, DeSantis signed the bill into law that allows the Florida government to take over Reedy Creek Improvement District, a retaliation against The Walt Disney Company after CEO Bob Chapek publically denounced the Parental Rights in Education bill, virally known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The new law renames the district the Central Florida Tourism Oversight Board and consists of a governor-appointed board of Florida residents who cannot have worked in the theme park industry within three years. It will no longer dissolve the district on June 1, 2023. Walt Disney World will no longer lose their tax exemptions.
In his Wall Street Journal article, DeSantis describes the Parental Rights in Education bill as banning “classroom instruction on sexuality and gender ideology in kindergarten through third grade and requires that sex instruction in other grades be age-appropriate.
According to DeSantis, “Disney executives were seen on videos boasting about the company’s plans to inject sexuality into its programming for children.” His reasoning for Disney defending their LGBTQIA+ employees is that “groups of employees at some corporations want their employer to reflect their own “political values” and “power.”
“A traditional corporate executive may have power within the company,” DeSantis writes, “but a woke CEO can use the corporate bully pulpit to exert influence over society.”
DeSantis concludes, “Woke ideology is a form of cultural Marxism. Leaders must stand up and fight back when big corporations make the mistake, as Disney did, of using their economic might to advance a political agenda. We are making Florida the state where the economy flourishes because we are the state where woke goes to die.”
The term “woke” was created by African Americans to mean “alert to racial prejudice and discrimination,” with “stay woke” dating back to at least the 1930s. The term was popularized during the 2014 Ferguson protests. It spread from there to refer to being alert to other social inequalities and is now frequently used by the political right to refer negatively to the political left’s more progressive policies.