DeSantis Mends Relationship With Disney

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Florida lawmakers are considering reversing a decision earlier in the year that stripped Walt Disney World of its self-governing status.

In April, Walt Disney World was stripped of its self-governing status after the company pushed back on legislation introduced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, prohibiting teachers from discussing sexuality and gender with children in third grade and below.

The law was dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, and Walt Disney World strongly condemned DeSantis’ actions.

Walt Disney World benefited from its unique self-governing status, dating back to 1967. It allows the company to tax itself for funding roads, water, power, and other services that it would typically pay to the state.

In March, DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, enabling lawmakers to determine the ages it would be appropriate to discuss sexual orientation and gender identity and to what degree.

According to reporting by The Financial Times, Florida lawmakers are drafting a compromise that could see Walt Disney World recover some of its self-governing benefits, a move that is reportedly based on the company’s change in leadership.

Bob Iger, the former longtime CEO of Disney, returned to the company on November 20 after his successor, Bob Chapek, was fired by Disney’s board.

Chapek was the vocal critic of the DeSantis education bill that cost the company its singular tax exemption in April.

But the return of Iger could be calming some of that tension, with Florida Rep. Randy Fine (R), who authored the law that removed Walt Disney World’s self-governing status, saying Iger shouldn’t have to pay for Chapek’s mistakes.