Disney Suspends Political Funding in Florida — DeSantis Slams Corp for China Ties

Sunday March 13, 2022

After getting negative pushback, the Walt Disney Corporation announced they would no longer fund political campaigns in Florida, the Guardian reports.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek made his first public comments on the matter during a shareholders meeting Wednesday, a day after the bill passed in the Florida legislature, writes USA Today.

"We were opposed to the bill from the outset, but we chose not to take a public position on it because we thought we could be more effective working behind the scenes engaging directly with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle," he told investors, noting efforts had been going on for weeks. 

"I understand our original approach, no matter how well-intended, didn't quite get the job done. But we're committed to support the community going forward," he added.

"He told investors he called DeSantis to express the company's concerns and planned to meet with him and a number of LGBTQ Disney leaders. Chapek also said Disney would sign the Human Rights Campaign's statement opposing similar legislative efforts around the country and donate $5 million toward groups that protect LGBTQ rights, including  Human Rights Campaign," adds USA Today.

"Human Rights Campaign said Wednesday it's refusing the donation until Disney builds on its pledge and work with LGBTQ advocates."

Governor DeSantis, who is a front-runner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, has sent a fundraising email that said: "Disney is in far too deep with the communist party of China and has lost any moral authority to tell you what to do."

"The statement shocked Republicans and Democrats. Disney theme parks are a multibillion-dollar economic engine for Florida. The company has given outsize amounts to state parties and politicians and holds significant influence in state government," writes The Guardian.

DeSantis also criticized Disney at a campaign event in South Florida Thursday.

"Companies that have made a fortune catering to families should understand that parents don't want this injected into their kid's kindergarten classroom, DeSantis said. "Our policies will be based on the best interest of Florida citizens, not the musing of woke corporations."