On Monday, March 28, Florida governor Flop DeRancid (Christian name Ron DeSantis) signed the state’s new “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law. Before he signed it, DeSantis said at a press conference that teaching kindergarteners “they can be whatever they want to be” was “inappropriate.” Tell that to subversive filthy smut like: the Reading Rainbow theme song, Free to Be You and Me, this Barbie campaign for toddlers called “You Can Be Anything,” and this Barney DVD also called “You Can Be Anything.” It’s kind of, like, the thing they teach in kindergarten.
In the weeks leading up to the bill’s signing, employees of the Walt Disney Company, one of the state’s largest employers, decried the media empire for funding the conservative extremist politicians who put the bill into effect. Just in Florida, and just between January and June 2021, the Walt Disney Company contributed:
-$50,000 to the “Friends of Ron DeSantis” PAC;
-$225,000 to “Floridians for a Stronger Democracy,” a PAC whose goal is “preserving the free enterprise system” and funds Republican campaigns and interests;
-$100,000 to the “Floridians United for Our Children’s Future” PAC, which funds Ron DeSantis’s committee and sounds a whole lot like an anti-choice dog whistle to us;
-$10,000 to the “Friends of Ashley Moody” PAC. Moody is Florida’s attorney general, whose far-right political history includes trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in Florida, opposing the restoration of voting rights to former felons, and supporting a lawsuit which petitioned the Supreme Court to rule the 2020 election invalid;
-$348,000 to the Republican Party of Florida (they donated a comparably tiny fraction of that to the state’s Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee);
-$75,000 to the Voice of Florida Business Political Action Committee, which is exactly as scuzzy as it sounds;
After a month of outcry from the LGBTQIA+ community, which included a walkout at Disney’s Burbank, California, headquarters, the company paused political donations in the state and reversed its public stance on the bill. And on March 28, after the bill was signed into law, the company gave a statement that was 89 whole spanking words, shorter than most Notes-app apologies, saying they want the law to be “repealed by the legislature,” and it “should never have passed.” In full, it says:
“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. 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. 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.”
Yeah, that’ll definitely fix it — good job, guys! No, seriously, good effort.