In a chapter of his new book released Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) revealed that former Disney CEO Bob Chapek privately called him to tell him about the pressure he was facing to speak out against the ‘Parental Rights in Education' bill in the spring of 2022.
The bill, which was nicknamed the ‘Don't Say Gay Bill' by critics, restricted schools from teaching gender and sexuality to children from kindergarten through third grade.
“As the controversy over the Parental Rights in Education bill was coming to a head, Chapek called me. He did not want Disney to get involved, but he was getting a lot of pressure to weigh in against the bill,” DeSantis stated in his book, ‘The Courage to be Free: Florida's Blueprint for American Revival,' which was released roday, as reported by Fox News.
According to the book, Chapek told DeSantis, “We get pressured all the time. But this time is different. I haven’t seen anything like this before.”
Chapek would go on to tell Disney shareholders that he called DeSantis to urge him not to sign the bill. “I called Gov. DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary, and transgender kids and families.” Chapek was reportedly very hesitant to involve Disney in Florida's political dealings, but the growing pressure from Disney employees and Democrats nationwide ultimately forced his hand. The governor would note in his book that Chapek and Disney, “Ultimately caved to leftist media and activist pressure and pressed the false narrative against the bill.”
The bill ultimately would pass and be signed by DeSantis, and Disney would, in the words of DeSantis, “Escalate the battle” by intending to fight the legislation in court. Due to this, DeSantis signaled that he would be willing to reexamine Disney's special tax district and beneficial corporate agreements. “While the Walt Disney Company and its executives had a right to indulge in woke activism, Florida did not have to place the company on a pedestal while they do so—especially when the company’s activism impacted the rights of parents and the well-being of children,” Desantis would state in his memoir.
This week, the desire to curb some of Disney's power would be realized, as DeSantis signed a law on Monday removing most of Disney's special privileges in the state of Florida.
Follow Josh Beauchamp on Twitter here