Protests have sprung up throughout the country in big cities as well as small towns since Politico released a draft decision last week showing that the conservative Supreme Court majority would put an end to the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling giving women a constitutional right to terminate their pregnancies.
But Disney – which has previously spoken out against laws that would prohibit abortions – has yet to issue a statement after it saw its stocks plummet 20 per cent following its public opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Bill – also known as the Don’t Say Gay Bill.
Disney said in March that it would suspend political donations in the state and added that it would in turn support organizations working to oppose the new law.
But the entertainment giant’s interference prompted ferocious blowback that has seen Disney suffer financially and politically.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and his fellow Republicans have since lashed out at Disney, and the company’s huge Walt Disney World Resort is now losing its self-governance status in the state.
Its stocks have also plummeted nearly 20 percent since CEO Bob Chapek first issued a statement opposing the bill on March 11 and by Sunday, shares for the media conglomerate were trading at $110.29 – down a whopping 67 percent from the same time last year, when it was trading at $184.84.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek has yet to speak out against a Supreme Court draft decision that would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case
The company was trading at $110.29 on Sunday, down about 20 percent since Chapek issued a statement opposing the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill and down about 67 percent from last year
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger had previously spoken out against bans on abortion.
In 2019, he said it would be ‘very difficult,’ for the company to continue to film in Georgia – where it has produced blockbusters like Black Panther and Avengers: Endgame – due to a bill that would ban abortions after a doctor could detect a fetal heart beat, which occurs at about six weeks.
‘I think many people who work for us will not want to work there, and we will have to heed their wishes in that regard,’ he told Reuters at the time.
‘Right now, we are watching it very carefully,’ Iger added, noting: ‘I don’t see how it’s practical for us to continue to shoot there.’
Yet current CEO Bob Chapek has not yet said anything about the leaked draft decision, which would overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate the Constitutional right to an abortion.
It was written by Justice Samuel Alito back in February, and has since been verified by Chief Justice John Roberts.
‘Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,’ Alito writes in the opinion. ‘We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.
‘It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.’
The decision, though, is not yet final until the court formally announces its decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case.
The Supreme Court leak showed that the conservative majority would overturn the landmark decision that gave women a Constitutional right to an abortion
It was written by Justice Samuel Alito (pictured) in February, and has since been confirmed to be authentic
Former Disney CEO Bob Iger has previously spoken out against such bans on abortion
As a result, protests have sprung up across the country, prompting guards to erect tall fencing around the Supreme Court.
On Sunday, pro-choice protesters screamed ‘you don’t care if people die’ while picketing the house of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, after dozens of demonstrators gathered in the rain the day before and marched towards the homes of conservative Justices Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh.
Images of coat hangers were chalked on the street outside the justices’ homes, an apparent attempt to reinforce the pro-choice argument that overturning Roe v. Wade will not put an end to abortion, but instead will end safe abortions.
‘Keep abortion safe and legal,’ the pro-abortion protesters chanted while they stood in the streets holding candles and signs.
Others shouted: ‘Your life is a lie!’ and ‘We will not go back!’
Cops stood guard outside the justices’ homes and, after what appeared to be a clash with demonstrators, ordered the activists to leave. At least one officer threatened to arrest and charge the protesters for violating Maryland law.
WASHINGTON DC: Pro-choice protesters were seen outside the Supreme Court after the draft decision was released last week
TUCSON, ARIZONA: Protests have also sprung up in large and small cities throughout the country, like this one in Tucson on May 3
NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Abortion rights activists rallied at Foley Square following the leak
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA: Protesters held signs and placards expressing their dissent to the decision on Saturday
WASHINGTON DC: Abortion-rights activists marched around the Supreme Court on Saturday as others headed to the homes of the conservative justices
Such widespread protests have previously encouraged Chapek to come out against the so-called Don’t Say Gay bill.
It was sponsored by Rep. Joe Harding, in response to stories about children discussing a desire to transition while at school, and some teachers’ decision to keep that secret from their parents or care-givers.
Harding had voiced concerns that coming out as gay was becoming ‘a trend’ for children. He also pushed for an amendment that would have essentially forced schools to out children to their parents, but ultimately moved to withdraw it.
He and other GOP lawmakers in Florida have argued that parents should be broaching these subjects with their children, rather than educators.
The law bans any discussion pertaining to ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ in Florida schools for students in kindergarten through third grade. Any teachers who breach its regulations can be sued by parents.
Disney executives originally did not say anything about the bill, leading some woke employees to grow upset at the company for not immediately disavowing it and walked out of the company’s headquarters to protest.
In an attempt to mend his relationship with employees, Chapek said that he plans to go on a global listening tour of employees, the Wall Street Journal reported.
He also issued a statement condemning DeSantis’ signing of the bill, saying it ‘should never have passed and should never have been signed into law.
‘Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.
‘We are dedicated to standing up for the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ members of the Disney family, as well as the LGBTQ+ community in Florida and across the country.’
LGBTQ employees and their supporters walked out of Disney Animation on March 22 as they grew frustrated that the company had not yet disavowed the Parental Rights in Education Bill
The employees urged CEO Bob Chapek to come out against the bill, which bans any discussion pertaining to ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ in Florida schools
Still, Florida Gov Ron DeSantis signed it into law on March 28
As a result, the company is now set to lose its financial protections, after the Florida House voted 68 – 38 last week to end the Reedy Creek Improvement District, meaning Disney will no longer be able to operate as a self-contained government.
It will end the state’s 55-year-old deal that allowed Disney to regulate land, enforce building codes and treat wastewater – and could cost the company millions in lost local taxes.
Reedy Creek Improvement District, as the Disney government is known, as well as a handful of other similar districts, will be eliminated by June 2023.
The legislation does allow for the districts to be reestablished, leaving an avenue to renegotiate its future.
Florida’s Orange and Osceola counties may also end up saddled with $1billion of debt currently owed by Walt Disney World.
The counties, on June 1, 2023, would assume all of Reedy Creek’s assets and liabilities and become responsible for providing all of the services currently handled by the district, CNBC reported.
‘There could be a financial fiasco for Orange County residents,’ Orange County tax collector Scott Randolph told Today.
Randolph, a Democrat, said Reedy Creek funds more than $100 million in recurring costs and $1 billion debt obligation that now tax payers themselves will have to fund.
‘It would have to come from tax payers because the minute Reedy Creek doesn’t exist, that money doesn’t exist,’ he said.
The Today Show calculated that an average Orange County home’s county taxes could climb upwards of 25 percent- resulting in a $250 increase in taxes per year for residents.
Currently, though, Disney finances the services supplied by Reedy Creek, which would normally be funded by local municipalities. The company, instead, charges itself property taxes to finance its service and pays the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement.
Once Reedy Creek is dismantled, local taxpayers and municipalities would likely be responsible for those services.
‘Removing district could transfer $2billion debt from Disney to taxpayers and could potential have an enormous impact on Orange and Osceola residents!’ State Sen. Linda Stewart, who voted against the bill, tweeted Wednesday.
The creation of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and the control it gave Disney over 27,000 acres in Florida, was a crucial element in the company’s plans to build near Orlando in the 1960s.
A newly-passed bill rips up the 55-year-old deal that allowed Disney to regulate land, enforce building codes and treat wastewater – and could cost the company millions in lost local taxes
Company officials said they needed autonomy to plan a futuristic city along with the theme park. The city never materialized, however; instead, it morphed into the Epcot theme park.
Reedy Creek Improvement District encompasses the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista and is home to fewer than 100 total residents.
The district is run by a five-member Board of Supervisors who are elected by landowners, not city residents.
Reedy Creek oversees land use, environmental protections and provides essential service – such as fire protection, emergency medical services, water and sewage, waste management, drainage and flood control, electric power distribution, and more – to the two communities, according to the district’s website. Reedy Creek also maintains all roadways and bridges in the communities.
The powers granted by the privilege status were broad, making it easier for the company to move forward with large architectural projects such as the 183-foot tall Cinderella Castle.
It also left doors open for the possibility for Disney to build its own airport or nuclear power plant, if the company wanted to.
Once Reedy Creek is dissolved, Disney would need to seek permission and approval from local governments to to proceed with construction projects.
Source: Daily Mail