Disney vs DeSantis: Will ‘Pride Nite’ further fuel anti-woke campaign in Florida | World News - Hindustan Times

Disney's 'Pride Nite' Announcement Amidst Governor Ron DeSantis' 'Wokeness' Campaign Sparks Ongoing Feud

ByHarshita Bhati
Jun 08, 2023 01:56 PM IST

Disney announces Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite, subsequent to Governor Ron DeSantis' campaign emphasizing the issue of “wokeness”.

Disney announced its first LGBTQA+ event at Disneyland known to the public shortly after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned during a press conference that he could potentially construct a state prison near Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.

A group picture at Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista.(AP)
A group picture at Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, in Lake Buena Vista.(AP)

DeSantis' conflict with Walt Disney World over issues related to "wokeness," his control over educators' discussions on American racism, and his interventions in certain schools have elevated his standing among a specific segment of Republican voters, considering him a hero. The Florida Governor hopes to gain mileage with is anti-woke stand in a tough impending battle against fellow Republican Donald Trump and by taking on a mammoth entity like Disney he is clearly making some sound waves.

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On Monday afternoon, Disney announced via a tweet that they would be hosting "Disneyland After Dark: Pride Nite" at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as part of the Pride Month celebrations. The two-night event, scheduled for June 13 and 15, will take place within the amusement park and is intended to honor and celebrate the LGBTQA+ communities and their allies, according to a blog post by Disneyland. This announcement appears to be the latest development in an ongoing public disagreement between Disney and Governor DeSantis.

The fight between Disney and the Florida governor originated over an education law which flared up into a feud concerning the management and control of land that encompasses the amusement park.

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Last year, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who was running for presidency, criticized the Walt Disney Company for condemning his anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation; he anticipated a quick political win. Gov. Ron DeSantis has orchestrated a long-running campaign to curtail the authority of Disney World, one of Florida's major employers. However, instead of capitulating, Disney launched a full blown war, ultimately suing the governor and canceling a planned $1 billion project that would have generated numerous employment opportunities. Gov. DeSantis found himself defending against allegations of being anti-business.

Subject of Quarrel between DeSantis and Disney

Last year in march, the governor enacted the Parental Rights in Education Act, which is commonly referred to as the "Don't Say Gay" bill by its Skeptics.

Gov. Ron DeSantis endeavors have Extensively been seen as Vengeance for Disney’s Resistance to legislation that Mr. DeSantis Endorsed last year that prohibits classroom Guidance and dialogue related to gender identity and sexual orientation within certain elementary school grades.

ALSO READ| Trump blames Governor DeSantis for Disney's 'woke' spiral, ignoring the ‘controversial’ shifts during his presidency

Conservatives celebrated the law, while L.G.B.T.Q. activists and many educators expressed disapproval. Initially remaining silent on the issue, Disney eventually engaged in the debate after its employees organized a public protest. The then-chief executive of Disney, Bob Chapek, Delivered several remarks about the bill.

In response to Disney's opposition to the education legislation, Mr. DeSantis and Fox News hosts began ridiculing the company as "Woke Disney" throughout the past year.

Disney's Relationship with the LGBTQA+ Community

The tie between Disney and the L.G.B.T.Q. community began even when the company was oblivious of that relationship. In the 1930s, proclaiming to be lesbian or gay was stigmatized as a mental illness, many individuals from the community found solace in the quirkiness of Disney's first star. Lesbian gatherings were referred to as "Mickey Mouse parties," and a gay bar in Berlin embraced the name “Mickey Mouse.”

ALSO READ| Disney cancels $1 bn campus project in Florida. Why? Know here

As Disney grew, more L.G.B.T.Q. fans found nexus with characters like Ferdinand the Bull and Peter Pan, or idolized the flamboyant charm of villains like Captain Hook and Maleficent. The journey of misfit characters who ultimately found acceptance for their uniqueness provided consolation and inspiration for many L.G.B.T.Q. individuals. Consequently, queer youth sought employment as "cast members" at Disneyland and Disney World, fashioning their own community within the company.

ALSO READ| Florida Governor DeSantis declares war on 'woke' culture - Says, 'woke goes to die' in my state

Both Disney and other American corporations are now realizing that a "both/and" approach no longer suffices. Ambitious politicians may reconsider involving companies in divisive cultural conflicts, recognizing the potential consequences. Executives everywhere are learning a valuable lesson that standing up and retaliating can sometimes be beneficial for the bottom line.

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