As Disney continues to struggle with controversy, Universal has remained quiet n Florida’s new piece of legislature.
The internet was lit ablaze after word came out that Disney World had actually donated to sponsors of Florida’s new bill, often referred to as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Known as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, this piece of legislation is as simple as the title. As stated by NPR, “The legislation prohibits any instruction about sexuality or gender between kindergarten and third grade, or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
Although Walt Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida, a majority-conservative state, the Disney theme Parks tend to stay as non-political as possible. Recently, however, there was a bill passed in the Florida House that has the potential to affect thousands of LBGTQ youth in the state, which Disney seemingly and backhandedly supported. Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s initial statement to not rub fans or employees the right way, ultimately leading him to take a firm stand on the issue.
This did not satisfy most people, with all facets of the Walt Disney Company coming out and taking a firm stance against the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. For those who thought the saga was over you would be sorely mistaken, with some Florida legislators actually taking steps to repeal the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967.
The Reedy Creek Improvement Act essentially allows Walt Disney World to reside in Florida unregulated, acting as its own “government” in a way. The act involved creating a special taxing district that acts with the same authority as a county government. The legislation made the claim that landowners within the Reedy Creek Improvement District, primarily Walt Disney World, could be allowed to be solely responsible for paying the cost of providing typical municipal services like power, water, roads, fire protection, etc. Local taxpayers, meaning residents of Orange and Osceola County, would not have to pay for building or maintaining those services.
Now it appears that some Florida legislators are working on getting rid of this special treatment that The Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney World have both benefitted from. Conservative-leaning figures have been outspoken about their disapproval of Disney’s stance on the new bill, with Governor DeSantis blasting the company, saying “they do not run this state.”
The situation has even left Bob Chapek, the current CEO’s position in potential jeopardy. Curiously, following this nightmare scnerio for The Walt Disney Company, Universal Studios, the Park miles away in the very same state has remianed deafeningly silent on the matter. It is unknown why exactly the company has remained, but being a bystander to the chaos surrounding its competitor right now it’s not surprising that the company would stay far away. Howeveer, as Deadline points out, the compnay has donated to some of the same law,akers that Disney was criticized for supoorting:
NBCU parent Comcast contributed to some of the same lawmakers behind the Florida law that Disney did. Yet it’s not surprising that Disney, and not its rivals, that has taken so much of the heat, as it is “in its own league. Disney is a major cultural force in this country and abroad. They eyes are always on Disney,” said Burghardt Tenderich, professor and associate director of the USC Center for Public Relations.
As of now, there is no word on whether or not Universal will make a statement regarding the bill.
How do you feel about the two Park’s responses?
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