After more than half a century of giving Disney freedom to operate however it wishes, the state of Florida is now cracking down on the company over its supposed embrace of “wokeness” and its support for LGBTQ rights.
Thanks to a newly passed law, many of Disney’s financial decisions will now be subject to review by a board (which counts a prominent pastor among its members) that critics say is heavily biased against any entertainment content that viewed as “woke.”
What does this mean for Disney World, and for all the TV shows and movies the company produces?
No Wokeness Allowed
While the board will technically be in charge of overseeing maintenance and improvements at Disney properties, critics say there’s a larger game at play here.
They point to comments from Florida leaders suggesting that the board is supposed to act as a moral arbiter, reviewing everything Disney does to look for potential threats to children.
“When you lose your way, you’ve got to have people that are going to tell you the truth,” Governor Ron DeSantis said. “So we hope they can get back on. But I think all of these board members very much would like to see the type of entertainment that all families can appreciate.”
In the past, he has described Disney as a “woke Burbank corporation” that is seeking to “inject woke ideology” on children.
Who Will Be Making The Decisions?
Among the board members is Ron Peri, a pastor and CEO of the Central Florida ministry Gathering USA. In a weekly lecture series posted on YouTube, Peri has warned about the dangers of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and advocated for Christian Nationalism.
According to reports, Peri has also advanced a theory that tap water is causing more people to become gay.
Some have accused Gathering USA of funding anti-LGBTQ causes, among other efforts.
Joining Peri on the board is the co-founder of Moms for Liberty, a parent group that says it wants to protect children from “inappropriate” material.
Some chapters of the group have campaigned to remove any books that contain LGBTQ content from libraries – efforts which have resulted in certain libraries closing altogether amid pressure from activists.
Are Children In Danger?
Supporters of the board argue that Disney hasn’t been thoughtful enough about the impact of its entertainment on children, and believe the change will be useful in holding the company accountable.
They hold that a company that produces so much content for children should have a responsibility to consider the impact that potentially mature themes may have on their development.
Disney has been criticized by some activists for embracing diverse identities, such as its recent decision to feature a gay character in an animated film.
But in certain places, the company does appear to be catering to religious pressures. When Disney rolled out its streaming platform, Disney+, in the Middle East last year, certain titles that may have offended Muslim-majority audiences were excluded. Among the list of offerings unavailable in the region was Lightyear, which sparked controversy for featuring a same-sex couple.
Meanwhile, the law's detractors call it a bad-faith censorship effort and counter that "woke" is just a blanket term used to deride any identity that could be viewed as a threat to traditional norms.
They ask: why else would a pastor (who has called gay people "deviant" and declared that LGBTQ people "don't have a stake in the future" because they can't have children) be appointed to the board?
Holding the Purse Strings
Critics of the new law also worry that this oversight will effectively whitewash Disney entertainment by scaring the company away from producing anything that might be viewed as inappropriate.
While the board won’t have direct creative power of what Disney chooses to produce (like movies, characters, or theme park rides), it will have the authority to approve or deny plans and funding for key infrastructure projects – decision-making power that could indirectly control how Disney operates.
“They can decide to borrow money or not to fund projects, or they could decide not to expand infrastructure to allow projects to go forward,” explains Aubrey Jewett, an associate professor of political science at the University of Central Florida.
Florida vs. Disney
The ongoing spat between Florida leadership and Disney stems from the company’s decision to condemn Florida’s infamous “Don’t Say Gay” law that effectively banned any mention of homosexuality or LGBTQ themes from school classrooms.
The creation of the new board appears to be the latest escalation in the conflict.
What this development means for Disney in the long term remains to be seen, but apparently, some content is already being flagged for review.
Christian activists have lodged a slew of complaints about “Little Demon,” an animated series that tells the story of Satan’s teen daughter. The show airs on the FX network, a Disney subsidiary.
What do you make of all this? Does Disney's inclusive content pose a real threat to children, or is Florida overreacting?
It’s funny. The people who are so against government oversight are the ones who are trying to control everyone’s life. They are telling you how to raise your children, what and what not they should learn in school, what and what they can’t do with their bodies, whom and whom they can’t date, love, and marry, what and what you can’t watch or read, who you can or can’t vote for, and of course which religion you can or can’t belong to.
brought to you by the people who will often bring up george orwell's 1984 as some sort of leftist bash. the reality is that these christofascists are convincing their followers/cult members that they stand for law and order, less governing, constitutional rights, capitalism, free speech and yet at almost every step they themselves are acting to limit or eliminate those rights they pretend to protect.
as far as florida goes, it begs the question, why disney and why not key west? I've been to key west, on a good day it used to be gay and straight bars, everyone having a good time, drag queens and tourists with kids. if de satanis gets his way key west will have to shut down all the bars because of how much is visible to kiddies, not to mention drag queens prancing around, gay (and straight) men prancing around in speedos or less. and let's not talk about halloween and fantasy fest. where do uptight straight men bring their families for vacation, key west. so they can see drag queens, hook up with gay men, visit strip bars...all things they are against back home.
there's a reason florida is shaped like a penis
What I find funny and sad at the same time is how those who continue to say they are all for everyone's liberty and in the same breath want to control what you say, who you love, what you can and can't do with your body, or who you associate with. Maybe the whole nation should be on Prozac, Klonopin or Xanax for impulse control in our words and deeds.
Totally agree. Seems that many here have lost their way in life, and have no idea what this is all about, or what brought it on. I guess they also missed the fact that the CEO, at the time, was fired by the Disney board, as they disagreed with him. How he mis-handled the entire issue, and the fact that Disney world leached off the taxpayers of FL. for years, at the tune of over $700 Mllion. Maybe you all should get togther and pay it? If it were in your backyard. you'd all be singing a different tune. I also guess you like what is happing to our children. The evil is at work full time. Wake up!
Robert, please explain how you are agreeing with Joe when your argument is against everything that Joe stated. By the way Disney has moved more money into FL's coffers than any other institution, and created FL as a world entertainment destination. It seems that "you" have lost your way in life, and have no idea what this is all about, or what brought it on. The evil on your part is certainly at work full time. Wake up!
I couldn't agree more.
Time for Disney to move to a more "friendly" State! Many States would welcome them and their revenues - Woke or not!
I'd venture the guess with recent business setbacks that Disney does not have the $Billions, which would be necessary for that.
How exactly would Disney be able to just pick up the entire Disney World Park and relocate that without going bankrupt?
I would think the state of Florida would go bankrupt first if Disney just shut down altogether in that area. In fact it might be something they may do in the future. I'm sure Orlando can do without the revenue Disney generates.....Not. Universal Studios and Theme Park may provide some tax relief, but I don't think they are as strong as Disney. And remember, the Governor is only in office for a short period of time unless the Florida Legislators decide to change the law in how long a Governor can stay in office. But this guy right now has his eye on the White House and I don't think he can serve 2 "masters" at the same time.
I find it laughable that being Woke is a bad thing. To be Woke is defined by Webster as: aware of and actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice) which would imply that someone who is not woke probably is sleeping or has their head up their A** causing them to have the Sh*tty outlook on life.
It’s what happens when the propaganda machines starts turning. Take a word and twist its meaning till no one knows where they’re at. They did the same with feminism and political correctness and I’m sure many others.
They did such a good job with feminism for years women would say I support women’s rights but I’m not a feminist. Idiotic.
People are for the most part easily manipulated fools. We don’t stand a chance.
This is the unfortunate result of a nation that has become hyperpoliticized and tends to the extremes on both sides of the divide. We can also see the growth and acceptance of authoritarian rule. I notice that Ron kept saying he was pro-business. That is until a business dared exercise its freedom to simply voice an opinion on proposed legislation. Then the "pro-business" party punishes the business (or at least tries to do so) and tries to control it. Yay, freedom! (sarcasm)
The problem with extreme positions is they leave no room for compromise and meeting on friendly terms. Which only pushes both sides even further apart. I've seen politicians refer to the folks on the other side of the aisle as their enemy. Not a great way to run what should be a united nation that handles the inevitable disagreements people have in a fair and balanced way. Many of the supposed Christians in government are more concerned with power, money, and forcing others into their narrow worldview than showing love, compassion, understanding, charity, and peace. They wave the banner of Christianity but I see no sign of Christ in their deeds.
The politicians play silly games designed to arouse emotions. They want to fuel the fire of hate and enmity to rally their followers into emotional, mindless reactions. They play on fear. But fear only leads to anger and a need to lash out. Thus, we see a nation of people who are acting out in violence more and more. Directing their animosity at whatever handy target happens along. Quick to attack anything seen as "other". Either with hostile words or physical -- even fatal -- violence.
What we as a country could really use now is a dose of higher education, rational thinking, slow down the rat race, promote peace, stop making everything about politics, and focus more on people as fellow humans who are all pretty much the same instead of creating endless labels that do nothing but point to divisions. And maybe find a path to steer away from seeing greed and amassing endless wealth as a Good Thing.
But, like, I admit that's just my opinion.
There’s NOTHING fascist about this incessant need to assert governmental oversight and control over the business decisions of a corporation because you don’t like what they say or they decide what you want doesn’t fit their business model. 🙄🙄
If America turns a blind eye to DeSantis et al and their egregious power grabs… America gets what America deserves….
A fascist dictatorship.
But as a business, don't these same people believe a business should be allowed to do whatever they want? Isn't that the argument they give when someone doesn't want to bake a cake for a wedding or provide a venue for a dance or any other instance of bigotry?
Two devastating hurricanes, a red tide on the Gulf Coast, and a humongous sargasso clump on the Atlantic Coast. If you believe in a God that’s omnipotent and omniscient, could it, maybe, just maybe, be that He’s sending a message to Floridians, especially POTUS 45 and DeSantis supporters, reminding them to “Love their neighbors.”?
Republicans love to twist things. They twist science to suit their agenda. They change Christianity to make it exclusive and unChrist-like, they change history to make themselves look better and now their changing the definitions, namely of the word WOKE. May Tyr bring swift justice and smite these people.
Can you imagine this man as the POTUS? I live in Florida and if it wasn't because of our work here, the politics would force us to leave. I personally want to stay and fight for the rights I voted for when I first turned 18. Which was actually put into affect when the Government realized we were sending boys to Vietnam that weren't even of voting age. I grew up in the Miami area and moved away for 30 years. What a change this State has become for the worst. Freedom? How does he get to even say that out loud when it is a bold lie. He even declares that the people moving here from NY and CA are here for the politics. I beg to differ, because they are escaping rising prices and State taxes. I just hope that they are all not DeSantis voters, so we can get these crazy politicians out of this state and grow into a State that really does promote Freedom. Now the cost of living has risen so high that only millionaires can move to Florida. The Government here is pushing anyone else out with no place to go. I am proud to be "Woke".
I think it is more government oversight, more religious oversight. I think it falls in line with where the world is headed. No one is interested in free thinkers. They want followers: "Take what I say as law, I know what is best, let me frame your reality."
It is all about consolidation for power
I hope the oversite board does more then just watch Disney for wokeness, I hope they do something about it if it shows up. No more wokeness in our movies. It's sickening.
Heaven forbid our movies contain more awareness of and views which are actively attentive to important societal facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice)
I feel sorry for you and your view of the world. We live in an ever changing world and it's time for folks to come out of the shadows and be in it. It's called "growth" when you become "woke". Put down your New Edition Bible and read a history book once in awhile. You just might learn something along the way. I'm 70 years old this year and I look back at my life and now I understand a lot more by listening to those who lives were marginal because of the color of their skin or the way they speak or how they act. More listening and less talking, you just might learn something the way I have over my 69 years of living. It's called tolerance and live and let live.
Disney is going to fight this and win court. It will just take time.
In the meantime anyone following what's going on with the Mormons/LDS church? The SEC has fined them $25 Million. Turns out two Mormons went to the FBI and explained how the LDS church was involved in hiding $100 Billion they should have paid tax on. And it's probably more as a Mormon in law enforcement tipped off Mormon church elders the FBI would be conducting multiple raids the next day. The Mormon Church elders destroyed all of the evidence.
And now the Church is refusing to say what they did with $1 Billion which church members donated for charitable services. They money is gone.
In responce, the LDS Church Elders are telling Mormons NOT to pay their federal taxes and to trust in God.
Cancel culture needs to take down Desantis.
Disney brought this upon themselves. All they had to do to avoid all of this was stay the heck out of politics. I have absolutely no sympathy for the predicament in which they find themselves. And, I'm sorry but I agree with the law that states that teachers have no business discussing some subjects with very young children. There is certainly a place for those discussions, but it is not in Primary school. When you are busy learning how to tie your shoes and spell 'cat', you do not need to know about alternative sexualities.
I wish when you make a blanket remark like teachers are teaching very young children all about "SEX" list the teachers' names or at least list the schools where this is going on. Have written proof otherwise your argument is weak. This goes for everyone who makes these out landish remarks about the very young being indoctrinated by certain types of adults who lifestyles don't meet with your own. And another question, why are you allowing your young child to be in those situations if you are uncomfortable? Not everyone believes the way you do, so stop trying to "parent" those children whose parents have open minds and want their children to be exposed to alternative lifestyles.
Then churches should stay out of politics or have the same done to them where the government watches and tells them what they can and can't do
Don't let your kids watch the movies you don't agree with. Or maybe you would let your kids watch 50 shades or maybe porn. I do agree with the teacher argument.
I think Disney should shut down for maintenance and remodeling for a year or two. At least until Florida goes broke under Desantis.
Yes that is the ticket. Disney shuts down one of it's biggest income sources to kill Florida. Florida will still be making money off of Disney with your plan through inspection fees, but Disney would just drain their banks as they loss billions per year and investors bailing on them in the stock market. Great plan.
Disney will be here long after Desantis! This moment shall pass!
Now that Florida has taken on Disney, When will they head to Universal? I’m sure that the Florida governor will want to have a say in all of the Orlando area attractions.
Many fairy tales had a base in real life and carried a lesson, but were later spruced up to appeal to children and adults in a palatable way. Successfully!
One has to wonder if Ron DeSantis and if legislators "attack" against Disney is being motivated by the LDS church? Why do I ask? In a settlement over the tax fraud by the LDS church we now know that the LDS church owns over 100 Billion dollars real estate. LDS church is the largest landholder in Florida and has a lot of political power.
The LDS has always been homophobic but lately with say many devote church members coming out as LGBTQ+ the office of the LDS church First Presidency is panicking. With so many young Mormons refusing to do their missionary work Dellin Oaks and the LDS First Presidency is trying to get LDS church members to get married just after graduating from high school and have kids.
No mater what your religion, you should learn about the $100 billion dollar tax fraud LDS church admitted guilt over and what's going on with the LDS/Mormon church and what the LDS church is doing with that $100 Billion dollars when it comes to politics. Remember $100 Billion dollars is three time the amount Bernie Madoff scammed people out of.
NOTHING IN THE BILL SAYS "DON'T SAY GAY"! STOP PUSHING WOKE IDEOLOGY !!
Have you seen Bambi? What did Thumper’s mother say?
A classic Moscow/Beijing/Havana takeover of profitable private industries to line the pockets of demagogues, using the equally classic 'Think of the children!' ploy.
Disney has been around a long time. The Governor of Florida and his appointees have not. Every 20 years or so there is some social upheaval of the same sort.
Disney will be around longer than Ron the closet case.
I call on all Jews including my family who live outside of Florida to sell off all Jewish-owned properties and assets in Florida and donate the proceeds to the Democrats.
I also call on Progressives , Liberals, and baseline Democrats in Florida to sell their properties to Russian, Chinese and other allowable communist countries, so that Florida can finally be ceded to Cuba and Ron DeSantis and his minions along with it.
They want Cuba back? They got it. Send them back and good riddance.
I call on all parties to advocate for the restoration of Florida to it's indigenous peoples, and a military agreement with the USA to provide military aid in the event the Republicans in Cuba seek to reclaim the territory.
I call on the spirits of all Disney characters to rise up and exacerbate the mental health issues of Florida's Evil Governor and his minions.
Listen to "Wild Ride."
I wish everyone who doesn't live in Florida WOULD sell their property. Stop driving up the cost of rent based on where you live. Go online and find the average wage in Florida, then check out average rent.
Florida is way over reaching. Disney has been entertaining children for year and no one has ever come forward to say that Disney has corrupted them or harmed them mentally. So anything you say or do is bull. It is all about Ron DeSantis wanting to control how people think, to control what they learn, and what they can read, and what they can watch on TV or the movies. Last I knew we were the land of the free! Looks like many crazy people are trying to make it the land of the oppressed. What really struck me in this article is something DeSantis said and this was that quote. Governor Ron DeSantis said. “So we hope they can get back on. But I think all of these board members very much would like to see the type of entertainment that all families can appreciate.” My question is what do you mean by saying “type of entertainment that all families can appreciate”?? Does that mean heterosexual families, only? The word All, means just that All. So All would include the LGBTQ+ families, right?
Florida is going to run Disney out if they aren't careful. There are plenty of states who would be more than happy to have Disney, and a lot of those states would probably give some good tax incentives. DeSantis better be careful, young people are already leaving that narrow minded state.
I agree whole heartily this is not something to have around children under at least 16 years old where they can at least have a little sensibility about it but the parents should still have say so on weather they can take the class. When I was in school and when my children were in school just before woke came around the school had to have signed permission to have them take sex education classes this should be the same way!
Florida is like Texas now I guess; who would have thought? Another reason besides the humidity to avoid Florida