The Walt Disney Company has been embroiled in controversy since what is now termed the beginning of its feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. What started as a disagreement over the “Don’t Say Gay” law (officially called the Parental Rights in Education Act) turned into a bitter battle with numerous back-and-forths, with each side clapping back with an escalation. First, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis dissolved the Reedy Creek Improvement District board and renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District with a new, special hand-picked board. Then, the Walt Disney Company seemingly came out on top with their use of the “King Charles III clause.”
This did not go down well with the CFTOD board and Governor DeSantis, and they moved to void the agreement. Disney responded by filing a suit based on retaliation over the company’s right to free speech, a stance that Disney CEO Bob Iger reiterated during the earnings call in May. The board responded by countersuing the Walt Disney World Resort.
Needless to say, it’s been a long, drawn-out battle.
Recently, BBC reported on how various companies have been under attack for their “wokeness.” Part of this list was the Walt Disney Company. As part of this report, BBC spoke to various professors, analysts, and activists of the movement, who shared their insights. Professor Mark Mizruchi, a sociologist at the University of Michigan, weighed in.
Prof. Mizruchi shared that “politicians’ attacks on companies for being woke are ‘mostly a smokescreen,’ noting that on issues like unionisation, taxes and regulation corporate America and Republican leaders remain tightly aligned.”
“Republicans have to play this very careful game of supporting the wealthy and big business behind the scenes, but making it appear to the public that they’re on the side of the little person,” Mizruchi commented. “That’s why going after the wokeness is a good way to do it – because that’s not a bread and butter issue [for corporations],” he added.