Florida governor Ron DeSantis intensifies attacks on Disney amid vile ‘Don’t Say Gay’ row
Governor Ron DeSantis has asked lawmakers to eliminate Disney’s unique status in Florida after the company opposed his ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law.
In a surprise move, DeSantis expanded a special session of the state legislature to target the state’s top attraction, Disney World. Lawmakers will consider a bill that would end all that would eliminate special tax districts created before 1968.
Florida has hundreds of such districts with most being set up after 1968, the New York Times reported. However, the deal between the state and Disney World was established in 1967.
According to the news outlet, the agreement allows the Disney theme park near-total control over the area of the property, called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, that Walt Disney bought in central Florida.
It also exempts the park and its locality from nearly all state regulations like property taxes and elevator inspections, NPR reported.
A proclamation signed by DeSantis stated that it is “necessary to review such independent special districts to ensure that they are appropriately serving the public interest”.
The bill to eliminate the special district passed through the GOP-controlled Senate and House committees on Tuesday (19 April), the Washington Post reported.
Democratic state senator Janet Cruz called the bill the “grandest form of bullying that I’ve ever seen”.
“I have this vision of a mousetrap that we’ve created, and I see us leaning on the neck of the mouse for 12 months, just to step on Mickey’s neck,” Cruz said.
Tensions have been growing between DeSantis and Disney in recent months, especially as the state’s reviled ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill made it through the state’s legislature.
The entertainment giant received tremendous backlash from the public, celebrities and staff because of its initial silence towards the bill and for donating to lawmakers who voted for the bill.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek eventually apologised for the company’s silence and announced it would be pausing its political donations in the state.
After DeSantis signed ‘Don’t Say Gay’ into law, Disney promised to help get the controversial legislation “repealed by the legislature” or “struck down in the courts”.
“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 added.
The response caused DeSantis to label Disney as “woke”, and he believed the company had “crossed the line”.
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