In his email, Patrick said that he is “angry” at Disney’s recent opposition to Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education bill and their pushing of a “woke” agenda to “indoctrinate my grandkids and your children and grandchildren on the issue of sexuality.”
Florida’s new legislation, signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis on March 28, strengthens parental involvement in classrooms but has drawn criticism for its measure “prohibiting classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” for class levels at or below the third grade.
The Walt Disney Company released a statement at the end of March in opposition to the new state law, saying that the bill “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“Our goal as a company is for this law to be repealed by the legislature or struck down in the courts, and we remain committed to supporting the national and state organizations working to achieve that.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,” stated the company.
In his campaign update, Patrick said that the same subject will be “a top priority in the next session,” which begins in January 2023.
Until then, Patrick says that the interim Education Committee will address the issue in committee hearings under one of the charges that he gave to members earlier this week.
Beyond the company’s opposition to the new Florida law, Patrick criticized the company for ending its practice of addressing people with the greeting of “boys and girls” or “ladies and gentlemen.”
“This crazy ‘woke’ radical agenda is pushed by a few, but rejected by almost everyone in America, across all political spectrums,” said Patrick.
Patrick also shared a link to several videos of senior executives at the company promoting policy changes such as a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda,” “adding queerness” to children’s entertainment produced by the company, and expanding the amount of “LGBTQIA characters in our stories.”
“So, what can we do?” wrote Patrick. “Until they change their corporate philosophy, stop spending money with them. Cut off the Disney Channel. Cancel your park trip or your cruise if one is planned.”
Of particular note, Patrick also advised, “If you own Disney stock, sell it. Although I did not own many shares of individual Disney stock, I sold them today.”
Among the interim charges that Patrick listed this week, he asked the State Affairs Committee to, “Study the investment practices of financial services firms and how those practices affect the state’s public pensions.”
The lieutenant governor has taken particular aim at BlackRock, a major investment firm, for targeting “Texas oil and gas energy companies by boycotting them in violation” of a state law that prohibits such boycotts.
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink dismissed the accusation at a recent oil and gas conference in Austin, saying that the company invests in fossil fuels.
Companies that boycott the oil and gas industry are not the only companies that the comptroller is instructed by law to divest from — a similar law also bars the state from investing in businesses that take actions “intended to penalize” Israel.
Given that Patrick’s charge to senators asks them to “Make recommendations to ensure the state’s public pension funds are not being invested to further political or social causes,” seeking some way to divest from companies that enact policies such as those that Patrick has criticized of Disney could be a potential proposal.
According to records obtained by The Texan, funds managed by the state collectively own over $90 million in shares of the Walt Disney Company.
Disclosure: Unlike almost every other media outlet, The Texan is not beholden to any special interests, does not apply for any type of state or federal funding, and relies exclusively on its readers for financial support. If you’d like to become one of the people we’re financially accountable to, click here to subscribe.
Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.