While the final straw came over “Don’t Say Gay,” giving Governor DeSantis an opportunity to play performative artist, which he does so well, Disney’s shift away from strong alliance with Florida GOPers has been coming for sometime.
Here are some key points:
- Disney’s acquisitions of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm moved the company into more creative space beyond its traditional film studios and amusement park business.
- Since Disney’s purchase of assets sold by FOX, the mouse has become a media behemoth globally, and that business is more important than the amusement park business. Conversely, FOX, an already conservative company has become more conservative without a film division or entertainment-driven channels. Instead Rupert Murdoch’s empire has been reduced to right-wing newspapers in the UK, US and Australia along with Fox News and Fox Sports, which for all the conservative complaints about liberalism seeping into other sports coverage, has become very noticeably conservative and flag-waving in their coverage.
- Disney’s purchase of FOX’s assets did shift the company further left – a greater reliance on creators than ever, and development of more a edgy sports coverage at Disney-owned ESPN, which included an increased emphasis on social justice issues related to sports, and coverage of global affairs in international sport. Quite frankly, for all the folks that think NBCUniversal because they run MSNBC is a liberal company, they are not. The Comcast-owned media entities are far more formulaic and deferential to corporate or governmental concerns, than I believe Disney’s media side is. However, the making of the film Multan, is a blot on Disney’s recent record, but you can find far more examples of propagandist submissiveness with other media entities of late. (Disney and NBCUniversal are in business together with Hulu, but NBCU is more-or-less a silent partner with a minority stake at this point. Hulu is effectively a Disney property since they acquired FOX’s stake, which NBCU makes money off of as a silent minority partner. )
- As most union leaders in the state as well as activists around the process will tell you, Disney has been a far more willing partner with organized labor than most in the hospitality business. In fact, Disney has become so progressive in this regard when compared to other companies doing business in Florida , that I have seen a general softening among progressives in their hostility to Disney’s continued receiving of benefits and carve-outs from the state.
- Disney, I can absolutely report from my sources was concerned about Governor DeSantis hostility toward cruise ships being able to enforce their own standards for passengers and staff safety.
- Similarly, I am told Disney wasn’t thrilled by DeSantis’ tact on what businesses in Florida could do regarding COVID safety protocols and did not expect the government to be dictating these things. However, as Disney was getting a favor from DeSantis at the same time, they didn’t speak out.
- Disney just underwent a change in leadership. The reason they weren’t as nimble on “Don’t Say Gay,” as they may have been 6 months earlier was due to new leadership. However, now they have taken their stand and the Governor has therefore effectively declared war on the company.