DeSantis: Fmr Disney CEO privately complained to me about brutal pressure of woke left

The culture war battle between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and The Walt Disney Company may have publicly pitted the two powerhouses at odds, but behind-the-scenes details from a new memoir suggested the former CEO never wanted to have that fight.

In what many consider a clear sign of his intentions for the 2024 presidential election, the governor has a memoir coming out Tuesday titled, “The Courage to be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for American Revival.” Ahead of the release, Fox News Digital exclusively previewed a chapter in which DeSantis reflected on going toe-to-toe with the House of Mouse and its then-CEO Bob Chapek.

Though many in the purported family entertainment company pushed their woke agenda over the commonsense measures toward age-appropriate education in the since-signed into law Parental Rights in Education bill, smearing it as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, DeSantis said Chapek wanted no part of it but was pushed to do so.

“As the controversy over the Parental Rights in Education bill was coming to a head, Chapek called me,” the governor wrote of a March 2022 conversation. “He did not want Disney to get involved, but he was getting a lot of pressure to weigh in against the bill.”

The CEO had reportedly said, “We get pressured all the time. But this time is different. I haven’t seen anything like this before.”

Chapek had shared publicly, “I called Gov. DeSantis this morning to express our disappointment and concern that if the legislation becomes law, it could be used to unfairly target gay, lesbian, non-binary and transgender kids and families.”

Suggesting a lack of true conviction or, at the very least, a lack of attention span, America’s Governor contended if Disney stayed out of the political fight it would get hit with 48 hours of outrage followed by “another 48 hours of outrage, mostly online,” after the bill was signed.

“Then there will be some new outrage that the woke mob will focus on and people will forget about this issue, especially considering the outrage is directed at a political-media narrative, not the actual text of the legislation itself,” he said.

DeSantis wrote that Disney “ultimately caved to leftist media and activist pressure and pressed the false narrative against the bill.”

Since then, the Parental Rights in Education law has continued to be smeared by leftists, Chapek was ousted and replaced by former CEO Bob Iger and many productions have leaned heavily into progressive messaging. Meanwhile, DeSantis advanced his plan to strip Disney of its self-governing powers through the Reedy Creek Improvement District, fulfilling his promise to remove their tax advantages if they continued to put a thumb on the scale in partisan matters.

“Behind the scenes, I was not, as a father of children ages five, four, and two, comfortable with the continuation of Disney’s special arrangement,” DeSantis wrote. “While the Walt Disney Company and its executives had a right to indulge in woke activism, Florida did not have to place the company on a pedestal while they do so–especially when the company’s activism impacted the rights of parents and the well-being of children.”

“Even though Democrats often rail about the nefarious power exerted over politics by large corporations, and supposedly oppose special carveouts for big companies,” he went on, “they all dutifully lined up in support of keeping Disney’s special self-governing status.”

In a book aiming to show the rest of the country how Florida has led the way toward prosperous conservatism, DeSantis emphasized when taking on “woke capital” like Disney, “old-guard corporate Republicanism is not up to the task at hand.”

Kevin Haggerty


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

Latest Articles