Disney World

The Bottom Line Will Disney go the way of CNN+?

Originally published at Substack

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed legislation that will eliminate Disney’s special tax-district status in what the New York Times described as “brazen retaliation” after the theme-park corporation came out against a Florida bill which critics have branded by critics the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The bill’s nickname is deceptive — what HB 1557 does is “prohibit classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity” in kindergarten through grade 3 in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.

In other words, it makes perfect sense. It takes a stand against instruction that pushes a sexualized agenda on young kids. We’ve seen this before.

(The textbook) Sex Is a Funny Word informs: “But having a penis isn’t what makes you a boy. Having a vulva isn’t what makes you a girl. The truth is much more interesting than that!”

Interesting? Apparently, if you go with your biological gender, you are less interesting.

I support all parents’ right to buy that book and read it to their kids. That said, most parents I know don’t want this kind of inculcation for their young children. It’s more than inculcation, alas, it’s a scary experiment.

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat sees trouble ahead, as he writes here.

So to end more straightforwardly, I will make a prediction: Within not too short a span of time, not only conservatives but most liberals will recognize that we have been running an experiment on trans-identifying youth without good or certain evidence, inspired by ideological motives rather than scientific rigor, in a way that future generations will regard as a grave medical-political scandal.

I agree.

My husband, Wesley J. Smith, came to the defense of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lodapo, who warned against gender reassignment surgery for minors. When France, the U.K., Sweden and Finland warn against rushing too quickly on gender reassignment, that tells you something.

As I write this, Disney’s stock is down more than 11 percent over the last five days. That’s the immediate fallout. Over time, however, Disney’s brand cannot come out of this story ahead. This story has given parents anxious about the high-ticket cost of taking the kids to Disneyland a reason to look elsewhere — a place with less of a political agenda.

The theme-park giant made a mistake opposing the the Parents’ Rights in Education bill, as HB 1557 is billed. Yes, woke workers had mobilized to push Disney to come out against the measure. That said, it cannot be good for the Disney brand to be associated with efforts to educate young

“If Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy,” Mr. DeSantis, a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024, wrote in a fund-raising email to supporters on Wednesday. “I will not allow a woke corporation based in California to run our state,” he continued. “Disney has gotten away with special deals from the state of Florida for way too long.”

An end to corporate welfare of sorts

But also the view that when young woke staff dictate corporate communications, it doesn’t always end well.

Debra J. Saunders

Fellow, Chapman Center for Citizenship Leadership
A fellow with Discovery Institute’s Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership, Debra J. Saunders worked for more than thirty years covering politics on the ground and in Washington, as well as American culture, the news media, the criminal justice system, and dubious trends in public schools and prestigious universities. Her column is nationally syndicated with Creators Syndicate.
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