June 16, 2024

USA: Disney World loses self-government status

fl Disney World loses its autonomous status after a row with Governor DeSantis

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

© Wade Vandervort / AFP

Ron DeSantis has passed a new law that will take control of the semi-autonomous Disney World region in Florida. Earlier, there was a disagreement between the Republican governor and Disney over the “Don’t Say Like Me” law.

The Disney World theme park in Florida, USA, has lost its self-governing status after criticism of a controversial law against teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday signed legislation that puts administration of the 42-square-mile district under state oversight.

“Today, the corporate kingdom is finally coming to an end,” said the conservative politician, a potential presidential candidate and in-party rival to former President Donald Trump. “There’s a new mayor in town and accountability will be the order of the day.”

This was preceded by a heated argument between DeSantis and entertainment giant Disney. Nearly a year ago, the governor signed a law banning teaching in kindergarten and the first three years of elementary school about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Disney World chief condemns Florida’s ‘Don’t Call Gay’ law

The law is part of efforts by US Republicans to enforce their conservative line on social and political issues, including in schools. Critics have condemned the law as a slap in the face of the LGBT community, calling it the “Don’t Say Like Me” law.

Disney chairman Bob Tangled also condemned the law and suspended all political donations to his Florida company. Disney employees, especially gay, lesbian, and transgender people, had previously criticized the fact that their employer did not publicly oppose the reform.

DeSantis said Monday when signing the Home Rule Act at Disney World that the company opposes something that serves to “protect young children.” “We want our kids to be kids. We want them to be able to enjoy entertainment and school without having an agenda forced on them.”

DeSantis is Donald Trump’s biggest rival

DeSantis, who was re-elected governor last November, is former President Trump’s biggest challenger in the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. The 44-year-old has yet to announce his presidential candidacy. But he has been working on his national profile with a series of political meetings and is releasing his book, The Courage to Be Free, on Tuesday.

The law he signed Monday revokes Disney World’s right to self-rule in the so-called Reedy Creek Improvement Area. This area was created by the Florida State Legislature in 1967 to facilitate the construction of the world-famous Orlando amusement park. The Florida House and Senate passed the law about two and a half weeks ago.

Disney governs the area, collects taxes, and is responsible for the basic needs of the citizens, such as garbage collection and sewage treatment. As part of the new law passed by the Florida House and Senate about two and a half weeks ago, a five-person oversight body will be created. Members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate.

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rw France Press agency