Disney's Self-Governing Status Might Be Stripped By Florida

On Wednesday, the Florida Senate voted to revoke privileges the company has enjoyed for 55 years.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked lawmakers in that state to consider the "termination" of self-governing privileges that Disney World has held in the Orlando area for 55 years. According to The Washington Post, such a decision could leave Disney paying millions of dollars more a year in local taxes, and with less autonomy over its property.

On Wednesday, the Florida Senate voted 23 to 16 to revoke the privileges previously available to Disney starting in June 2023. According to People, the Florida House has not yet voted but is expected to approve the move later this week.

The withdrawal of Disney's longstanding privileges in Florida is widely seen as a retaliation against the entertainment giant's--eventual--resistance and criticism of the "Don't Say Gay" bill. In early March, Disney CEO Bob Chapek was heavily criticized, both within the company and by the public, for not having clearer opposition. By late March, Disney employees walked out in protest, while Hulu, Disney+, FX, ESPN, and Walt Disney World have released statements that denounce the bill.

After months of silence on the legislation, however, Chapek promised the company would fight to repeal the law, which bans instruction or classroom discussion of "sexual orientation or gender identity" for kindergarteners through third-graders in public schools. In response, DeSantis called Disney a "woke corporation" that "inject[s] a lot of these topics into programming for very young kids."

Image credit: Getty/Roberto Machado Noa

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