A growing dispute between Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and entertainment giant Disney about the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law escalated Tuesday.
Governor DeSantis issued a proclamation that allows state lawmakers to consider legislation to revoke the special self-governing status of the iconic Walt Disney World theme park during a special legislative session to consider a new plan to revamp Florida’s congressional districts. The legislature is controlled by the governor’s Republican party.
The state created the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 1967 that allowed Disney the ability to develop and operate the 11,000 hectares of land in central Florida that houses Disney World and an adjoining resort. The special district collects taxes from Disney to fund essential services as a fire department, garbage collection, and utilities.
DeSantis’s proclamation is an apparent retaliation over Disney’s criticism of legislation the governor signed into law last month that bans the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools. The new law has angered the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) community — including those who work for Disney World — who criticized the company for not taking a stand against it.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek eventually came out against the law and announced the company would end political donations in Florida. DeSantis has lashed out against the entertainment giant, despite its status as the state’s largest private employer.