On Friday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the law that eliminates entertainment giant Disney from acting as a local government. Disney has had the status allowing them to act as a local government in Orlando, where it has it theme park.
Under the local government status, the Reedy Creek Improvement District was an area created by Florida’s congress in 1967 to facilitate the construction of Disney World in Orlando.
The area is about 38 square miles and includes two cities and land in Orange and Osceola counties, in central Florida.
The move was the latest episode in a dispute between DeSantis’ Republican administration and Disney , after the company criticized the passage in March of a law banning school lesson sexual orientation.
The law, which has become known as the “Stop WOKE Act, “prohibits workplace training or school instruction that teaches that individuals are “inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously;” that people are privileged or oppressed based on race, gender, or national origin; or that a person “bears personal responsibility for and must feel guilt, anguish, or other forms of psychological distress” over actions committed in the past by members of the same race, gender, or national orig. The law says such trainings or lessons amount to discrimination.
The Republican led legislation passed the Florida House in February by a vote of 74-41 and the Florida Senate in March by a vote of 24-15.
Disney was initially silent with no immediate response to the decision. But widespread criticism of the company, which employs more than 75,000 people in Florida, after it failed to publicly speak out, eventually prompted Disney CEO Bob Chapek to condemn it and suspend donations to state politicians.
Disney’s response didn’t go well with DeSantis and prompted the swift approval of Disney’s withdrawal of special status, which will go into effect in June 2023.
In a statement Friday DeSantis said, “No one should be instructed to feel as if they are not equal or shamed because of their race. In Florida, we will not let the far-left woke agenda take over our schools and workplaces. There is no place for indoctrination or discrimination in Florida.”
“We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other,” DeSantis said at the time, while calling critical race theory “state-sanctioned racism.”