Disney still donating to groups linked to politicians who voted for Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law

Disney has reportedly donated tens of thousands of dollars to organisations with links to Florida politicians who voted in favour of governor Ron DeSantis’ Don’t Say Gay law.

The legislation prompted a feud between the House of Mouse and the Republican former presidential candidate. The entertainment conglomerate was one of the biggest political donors in the state but this was put on hold in 2022 by then Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Chapek who opposed the law.

Don’t Say Gay, also known as the Parental Rights in Education Bill, has been expanded since first being signed into law and effectively bans classroom discussion about LGBTQ+ identities in Florida’s state schools. Critics say it has had a chilling effect on freedom of speech.

In a company-wide email, Chapek wrote: “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights, and I let you down.” He went on to admit that he had “missed the mark” but going forward would be an “outspoken champion for the protections, visibility and opportunity you deserve”.

Don’t Say Gay bans the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in classrooms of state schools in Florida. (Archive)

Campaign finance records for April and May of this year, released on Tuesday (18 June) and reported by the Orlando Sentinel, showed Disney donated $87,000 (approximately £69,000) worth of in-kind contributions to organisations with links to specific lawmakers.

The company’s largest in-kind contribution was $28,487 (£22,500) to Daley for Florida, which backs Democrat representative Dan Daley.

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But Disney also donated $16,423 (£13,000) to Florida Farmers and Ranchers United. Although the not-for-profit organisation’s website say it is not affiliated to any political party, it does boast links to Republican representative Josie Tomkow, who voted for the DeSantis legislation.

Approximately $10,000 (£8,000) worth of in-kind donations was also given to both Citizens for Solutions, chaired by Republican state senator Jason Brodeur, and the Friends of Joe Gruters.

Gruters is also a state senator and the former chairman of the Florida Republican Party. Both he and Brodeur backed the controversial legislation.

Although Disney has resumed in-kind donations, Democrat senator Geraldine Thompson said the company’s headquarters has not yet approved monetary donations, the Sentinel reported.

PinkNews has contacted Disney for comment.

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