Why does a company that operates “the most magical place on earth” want kindergarteners to learn about sexual orientation and gender identity? If that sentence caught your attention, that’s a good thing, because it is exactly what is happening in the “Magic Kingdom.”
It all started with a piece of fairly straight forward common sense legislation. HB 1557, the Parental Rights in Education bill amends Florida law governing school districts and prohibits those school districts from making decisions that would normally be made in a child’s home by his or her parents. Strangely, the most controversial part of the bill is section (c)3, which states “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Critics call it the “Dont Say Gay” bill, as liberal media has latched on to the slogan to promote their anti-conservative agenda. The Wall Street Journal reported, “LGBTQ activists have said the bill will cause harm to children struggling with their sexual and gender identity by cutting off support from teachers and encouraging teachers to out gay students to their parents.” That is probably the most nonsensical and outrageous thing you will read today. I don’t know how many 3rd graders are out there “struggling” with the sexual identity, since they haven’t even hit puberty and don’t understand the concept of sex and sexual orientation, but I’m going to guess that it’s not that many.
Enter Walt Disney World, who’s new CEO, Bob Chapek, angered the woke mob when he declined to publicly weigh in on the parent’s rights bill after facing criticism on social media from Disney employees, fans and contractors. Chapek had originally stated days prior that, as the new incoming CEO, he would stay out of politics and focus on growing the company. Then, Chapek changed his tune when he wrote an email to Disney employees. “Speaking to you, reading your messages, and meeting with you have helped me better understand how painful our silence was,” he wrote. “It is clear that this is not just an issue about a bill in Florida, but instead yet another challenge to basic human rights.”
He continued, “You needed me to be a stronger ally in the fight for equal rights and I let you down. I am sorry.”
When did talking about sexual orientation to a 3rd grader become a “basic human right”? How does opposing the rights of parents to consent to their children being taught about sexual orientation and gender in elementary school become a “fight for equal rights?”
HB 1557 passed the Florida House on February 22 and the Florida Senate followed suit on March 8th. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed the bill into law on March 28th, stating “Parents have every right to be informed about services offered to their child at school, and should be protected from schools using classroom instruction to sexualize their kids as young as 5 years old.” Florida Lt. Governor Jeanette Nunez stated, “Throughout this legislative session, this bill has been maliciously maligned by those who prefer slogans and sound bites over substance and common sense. Fortunately, Governor DeSantis and I believe that parents should have a say. We will not back down to woke corporations and their same tired tactics that are steeped in hypocrisy. As a mother of three, I am committed to protecting the rights of parents.”
Disney stock has been in trouble for years due to COVID-19 shutdowns and the resulting decline of revenue generated by park attendance. On January 3, 2022, $DIS was trading above $156 a share. By early March, the stock had slid to $131.75 a share, and was sitting around $138 a share when HB 1557 was signed into law. A bad Q2 earnings report in early May saw shares tumble to a 52-week low of $104.79.
Following Mr. Chapek’s public opposition to the bill and the Florida Governor’s agenda, the Florida legislature did something nobody thought was possible: they passed legislation stripping Disney of its exclusive, self-governing status, undoing 55 years of precedent for the state’s largest employer. But it was all avoidable had Chapek stuck to his original commitment to focus on growing the company rather than wage a culture war against parents.
It’s a sad state of affairs when a company that builds products for children, brings families together, and promotes the imagination of our youth to then turn around and try inject woke politics into their messaging.
At AMAC Action we are doing our part to make sure Disney hears from members that reject the woke direction the company appears to be headed. So far, through our advocacy page, nearly 160,000 Americans have told Disney: “Honor Walt and Dump Woke – or We’ll Dump You!” Our very own Andy Magione also recently appeared on Sebastian Gorka’s program to discuss the campaign. Take a look at Andy’s segment here and let us know in the comments if you agree with our campaign to Dump Disney if they don’t dump woke.
Bob Carlstrom is President of AMAC Action
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