Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, took to Facebook to criticize the Walt Disney Company’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, commending Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for taking retaliatory action against the company by supporting legislation that would remove Disney’s self-governing status in Florida.
Disney’s special taxing district that allows the company to self-govern in its theme park area was granted in 1967, covering roughly 25,000 acres in the Orlando area and enabling Disney to build new structures without the approval of a local planning commission.
The bill that would strip Disney of this special status has passed and will go into effect on June 1, 2023.
“You’re a corporation based in Burbank, California, and you’re gonna marshal your economic might to attack the parents of my state. We view that as a provocation, and we’re going to fight back against that,” DeSantis said of Disney.
While initially silent on the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which restricts discussion of LGBTQ issues in public school classrooms, Disney CEO Bob Chapek later expressed the company’s disapproval of the bill and reached out to DeSantis to voice Disney’s concern.
DeSantis saw Disney’s opposition to the bill as an act of war and responded in kind.
“How do they possibly explain lining their pockets with their relationship from the Communist Party of China? Because that’s what they do, and they make a fortune, and they don’t say a word about the really brutal practices at the hands of the CCP,” DeSantis said of Disney. “Companies that have made a fortune catering to families should understand that parents don’t want this injected into their kid’s kindergarten classroom.”
In a Facebook post, Graham took up arms with DeSantis, saying, “LGBTQ activists are using corporations to force their agenda on the public, and companies may want to take another look at what they are allowing to happen. Disney has gone too far.”
“The people of Florida have revolted, and it’s going to cost Disney big time. Disney had a special tax status in the state which they benefited from in a huge way—but because they came out against the parents of Florida, the governor and legislators have revoked that status,” Graham continued.
“What has happened at Disney is moral failure. Walt Disney had a vision for wholesome family entertainment. He was committed to the family. The morals of the corporate leadership of Disney today are in the gutter, and they want to redefine family counter to God’s original design and flaunt sin,” Graham said, going on to express support for DeSantis’ efforts to remove Disney’s self-governing status. “Thank God for Governor Ron DeSantis who is willing to take a bold stand. We need more leaders like him. God bless him and the Florida legislature.”