Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill Friday that would strip The Walt Disney Company of self-government authority in Orlando-area parks. The retaliation came in response to the entertainment giant’s opposition to a new law that addresses issues of the LGBT agenda in schools.
The governor said Disney would pay more taxes as a result of the law, but did not elaborate. The law would eliminate the special condition that allows the company to operate the Walt Disney World Resort as its downtown, with four theme parks and two water parks.
Disney’s special status was “really a freak,” DeSantis said at a news conference, where he signed the bill. “No person or company is treated as such in Florida.” Disney did not immediately comment on signing the project.
While the financial impact on the company and the state is uncertain, the move could change the way Disney operates its sprawling Central Florida empire and eroded its close relationship with the state for more than 50 years.
DeSantis is a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate who has attracted conservative voters on issues such as immigration, abortion and LGBT rights.
With his latest move against Disney, DeSantis is trying to polish his conservative credentials, showing that he’s ready to describe what he describes as a “California-based company that doesn’t share Florida values.” .
Disney initially did not publicly protest last month with regards to the LGBT community, which drew criticism. The company later denounced the law, saying it would suspend political donations in Florida until review.
The law, called “don’t say gay” by critics, prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity for children in kindergarten through third grade. DeSantis backed the move, saying it would give parents more control over their children’s education.
Opponents have called it a small attempt to marginalize gay and transgender students, or children of parents who are members of the LGBT community.
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