DeSantis Disney Board Member Uses Discredited Information To Teach About White Slavery in America

Disney Board member teaches debunked history of white slavery
Credit: Flickr/ Disney

On the same week that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District eliminated all DEI programs and race-based hiring and Florida is coming under fire for its United States History curriculum that says African Americans learned “skills” while enslaved, a story broke that an appointee by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis used discredited information to teach a seminar on the “Irish slave trade” in America.

Ron Peri Disney Oversight Board

Credit: Ron Peri / Disney

Related: Disney Tees Up Another Fight With DeSantis Board

CNN reports that Ron Peri, a DeSantis appointee to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, made claims in a tutorial on YouTube that more than 300,000 Irish were sold as enslaved people in the Americas and that a significant number of African Americans owned enslaved people. Reputable historians have debunked both claims.

The 2021 video about critical race theory is called “Cunningly Devised Fables” and pushes back on the idea that there is systematic racism in America. Peri deleted the video after he was appointed to the Board that oversees Walt Disney World and the former-Reedy Creek Improvement District by Governor Ron DeSantis.

When asked about the video by CNN, Peri said:

Slavery is a moral wrong wherever it exists or existed and is one of America’s great historical wrongs. Similarly, racism is likewise wrong. I countenance neither to any degree, so the criticism of the belief that thousands of people being held in slavery was significant and a terrible wrong is severely misplaced. Even one person in slavery is egregious and morally reprehensible, regardless of race.

Bob Iger, Glenton Gilzean, Ron DeSantis in front of Cinderella Castle, Disney World

Credit: Disney; National Urban League

Peri cited the 1830 Census as evidence that many African Americans owned enslaved people. However, according to that Census, only 0.0006 percent of enslaved people were owned by African Americans. Historian and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., has said that many of those who enslaved people were purchased by their family members for their safety.

Peri is an Orlando-based pastor and CEO of The Gathering, a Christian ministry group. In the past, he has accused the Walt Disney Company of spreading Critical Race Theory. Peri said:

We’re seeing companies embracing CRT. I’m gonna just share two – Walt Disney you’re quite familiar with. You know, down here in Orlando.

When Peri was appointed to the Board by Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, some of his more controversial statements came to light. He has referred to LGBTQ+ people as “evil” and spread a conspiracy theory that tap water was turning people gay. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis / Credit: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Gov Ron DeSantis is taking heat from all sides on the American history curriculum in Florida schools. Vice President Kamala Harris blasted the curriculum while visiting the state. DeSantis was also criticized by South Carolina Sen Tim Scott, who is also running for the Republican presidential nomination.

It is unclear if Peri will face any repercussions from this new story. CNN reached out to Gov. DeSantis’ office but did not receive a response.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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