Friday, the Disney Corporation learned what the adage, “Get woke, go broke,” really means as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a quickly-passed bill revoking the special self-governing tax district that Disney has enjoyed near Orlando for over five decades.
The news caused Disney’s stock to take another drop on Friday. It’s down 33% from one year ago.
Some conservatives are joining liberals in attacking the move, claiming it’s punishing Disney for free speech to revoke the sweetheart deal, because CEO Bob Chapek vowed to use Disney's political clout to overturn the state law barring inappropriate sexual content and gender politics from being taught to children in kindergarten through third grade (and I could hear Walt Disney spinning in his grave as I typed that.) But all it really means is that Disney now has to follow the same rules as every other company in Florida. Up until now, liberals were the ones complaining about how Disney was abusing its power in Florida to exploit the workers, etc. Guess if you’re “woke” enough, they’ll overlook any other sins.
One worry is that dissolving Disney’s district could force local taxpayers to pick up the bill for expenses Disney had been covering, which could mean a big tax increase. But it doesn’t take effect until 2023, so those issues could be worked out before then.
DeSantis gave them a well-deserved lesson in who really has the political clout in Florida. And market analysts who are brushing off the stock drop as fleeting don’t seem to understand just how badly Disney’s CEO has tarnished the company’s brand. He took the side of radical LGBTQ activists over parents (Disney's customer base), and I don’t think they’re going to forget that anytime soon.
You don’t even have to be politically partisan to realize how badly Disney has Goofied up. Here’s the former CEO of McDonald’s arguing that Chapek and other Disney executives should be fired for getting involved in politics “without thought and care” and costing their stockholders big time.
If they really want to get people back into the theme parks, I’d suggest firing them out of cannons as part of the nightly fireworks show.