Disney loses power to Florida Gov. DeSantis

On Monday, Feb. 27, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to decrease the powers of Disney World. The governor claims that Disney operating as a special district has permitted the company to avoid certain laws. Previously known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney World has utilized these lands for decades.

Critics have argued that Disney’s own district has given them unfair control that other companies do not possess. The new bill creates an advisory board that would monitor certain services and increase supervision at Disney. Through this bill, the park will still be held responsible for any debt.

With the signing of this new bill, many have questioned the growing tension between DeSantis and Disney. At the start of DeSantis’ elections, Disney showed immense support, but after the COVID-19 pandemic, DeSantis spoke against Disney’s strict preventative measures. DeSantis has further shown dislike for the company with its inclusivity initiatives, including changing the ride “Splash Mountain” to “Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.”

With Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis has expressed greater dissatisfaction with the company. As a possible upcoming presidential candidate, DeSantis’ moves are being closely evaluated and analyzed.

DeSantis has a fraught history with Disney due to the “Don’t Say Gay” controversy. Photo courtesy of State of Florida, Wikimedia Commons

When signing the bill, DeSantis stated: “Today the corporate kingdom finally comes to an end. There’s a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day.” The battle between DeSantis and Disney exemplifies the fine line regarding government involvement in business. It also questions the authority of political figures to decide the future of a company as well as challenges the role a company may have politically. Considering the longstanding history between DeSantis and Disney, their relationship and motive behind the bill should be questioned further.

It is undeniable that Disney has built a grand enterprise that has taken over a large portion of the entertainment industry. Putting partisan viewpoints aside, the founding of the country prioritized economic opportunity. The business of Disney has highlighted both sides of this concept.

First, Disney has demonstrated the ability to take advantage of the market and create a large company. They are a success story when taking this angle. On the other hand, the free market allows companies to grow and therefore diminishes the power and chances of smaller brands. When Disney is challenged, these objectives are also challenged, and the function of our markets loses confidence and credibility.

When discussing DeSantis’ role in the new bill, his prior interactions with Disney should be observed. Whether or not this bill acts individually from Disney’s movement towards inclusivity, it is crucial to understand DeSantis’ priorities. As the government is set up today, companies are allowed to express their beliefs; whether a person agrees with these ideals or not can dictate their consumerism.

To an extent, persecution from the government on behalf of these beliefs is not allowed. DeSantis passing this bill in an attempt to punish Disney would question these standards. Should DeSantis’ acts be employed apart from these previous incidents, this bill would grant a different perspective to his agenda.

Given the history between DeSantis and Disney, without knowing the direct motive of either party, it is difficult to form a strong opinion. However, in the broad scheme of government involvement in business, I would stand opposed to this to a certain extent. Government should be involved only when necessary.

Disney should be offered equal opportunities in comparison to other companies, although given their exceptions over the years and the near monopoly of the brand, it is fair to try and limit the brand’s power. Just as the government should not be overly involved in business, having companies influence politics is equally as detrimental.

Our politicians should not be working to benefit a business but should be working in the interests of the citizens. The situation between Disney and DeSantis exemplifies the need to balance or direct the power surrounding the relationship between government and business.

Both Disney and DeSantis will be worth paying attention to in the upcoming months. With DeSantis suggesting running in the next presidential election, each move he makes will lay out his priorities and beliefs as a candidate. Regarding Disney, this new bill may challenge the conglomerate and impact the roles and methods of the company.



Featured photo courtesy of chensiyuan, Wikipedia