Op-Ed: Sen. Rick Scott
April 14, 2022
I have never understood businesses that intentionally engage in partisan politics to the point that they effectively attack half of their potential customers. I spent my life in business, and this idea never occurred to me. It must be some kind of new woke business theory, but it makes no sense. That’s why I just cannot understand what the Walt Disney Company is doing.
Disney used to be the happiest place on Earth, now it’s just woke central. It’s on the losing side of an issue that the majority of families, regardless of political ideology, agree with. In many ways, that makes Disney’s decisions even more confusing. I talk to families and have heard this straight from them. But if you want numbers, the polling shows that fewer than 25% of Americans share the extreme views that Disney has endorsed. That makes sense — Disney is mad that Florida will not allow teachers to talk to 5-year-olds about sex. Florida families couldn’t disagree more.
The people of Florida are not extremists or bigots. They do not hate gay people. Our state is a melting pot of cultures, and we embrace that. We’re proud of it. The Florida Legislature passed, and the governor signed, a very commonsense bill that discriminates against no one — except, that is, adults who want to talk to your children about sex.
It’s time for companies like Disney to wake up and ignore the Twitter-obsessed social media manager who is driving business strategy. They need to realize that 2022 is the “Year of the Parents.” This bill is a big win for parents. We’ve seen this year that parents are refusing to take a back seat to anyone when it comes to their children’s education. That’s good. Democrats still don’t get it, but parents matter.
The law protects children and protects the rights of parents to shield their very young children from adults who, for some reason, want to talk to their children about gender and sexual matters. Let’s be clear: Most first grade teachers want to teach children to read, add, paint, and play nice in recess.
Which brings me back to Disney. I’ve enjoyed taking my children and grandchildren to Disney World, and I really had no problems with Disney in my eight years as Florida's governor. But now, just like many huge corporations in America, it's going woke. It’s really a shame.
What’s interesting is that the wokeness Disney has embraced in Florida isn’t reflected in its business around the world. While Disney tries to lecture us with these extreme views, the mouse is completely unwilling to speak up for freedom and against real oppression in places such as Communist China.
Disney has shamefully chosen to censor movies to appease the Chinese Communist Party. In the credits of its new Mulan movie, Disney thanked genocidal communist officials in Xinjiang for their help in filming, even as those officials were forcing millions of Uyghurs into slave labor. Disney continues to expand its presence in Communist China, even as Xi Jinping jails his political opponents, keeps up his attacks on democracy in Hong Kong, threatens Taiwan, puts Tibetans into labor camps, and forcibly harvests the organs of Falun Gong practitioners.
So apparently, genocide is tolerable, but demanding that parents have a say in their children's schooling goes just a bit too far.
This is disgusting, but it’s typical. Nike does business the same way. So do Delta, Coca-Cola, the NBA, and others that adopt woke personas only when they think it doesn't cost them anything. As long as the money is flowing from Communist China, these companies are happy to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses and real attacks on democracy.
Here’s what’s clear: Parents are smart, and woke businesses are as dumb and hypocritical as ever.
Maybe we should thank Disney for showing us who it really is. I’ll tell you one thing — I won’t be going back or watching Disney+ anytime soon, and I bet a lot more parents and grandparents are making that same choice.
Republican Rick Scott, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is Florida's junior U.S. senator and a former two-term governor of the state.