John Oliver has slammed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the kneejerk reaction to repeal Walt Disney Co.’s special district and tax breaks following the backlash to the “Don’t Say Gay” law.
Just under a month after Disney publicly condemned the law’s passage, DeSantis argued that Disney aimed to “inject sexuality into the programming that is provided to our youngest kids,” and Florida will no longer allow Walt Disney World its tax incentivized, self-governing district, which had been set up in 1968.
During “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” host Oliver summed up the legal proceedings as a band-aid punishment for Disney flip-flopping over “Don’t Say Gay.”
“Yeah, it’s true: In the part of central Florida where Disney World is, the company technically functions as a self-contained government, providing essential services — except, crucially, a morgue,” Oliver joked, before citing that the new law repealing its district may violate contract clause in the Florida constitution. The Florida state law also requires that the surrounding county assume the district’s debt, which is estimated to be upwards of $1 billion for Orange and Osceola counties where Disney World is located.
Oliver cut to a clip of DeSantis assuring constituents that Disney will “pay more taxes as a result” of the district repeal, adding, “Don’t worry, we have everything thought out.”
Oliver, who mocked DeSantis for giving off “‘Green Book’ vibes,” criticized the flimsy address.
“There is just nothing more immediately off-putting than someone starting a sentence with ‘don’t worry,’” Oliver said. “It sounds like a frat boy trying to reason with the cops after a noise complaint: ‘Don’t worry, man. We’re gonna take care of all of that. We got everything thought out. You guys want a beer or something? You wanna hang out?'”
Oliver concluded, “And do I think it’s bad if Disney pays more taxes? No, I don’t. That would be a good thing. I don’t love that it might happen not through meaningful tax reform but on the whim of one right-wing dipshit who’s scared of gay people and doesn’t understand the First Amendment. But hey: Ends, means, what are you gonna do?”
Previously, DeSantis accused Disney of going “woke” after denouncing “Don’t Say Gay.” During a press conference, DeSantis warned that “Disney has alienated a lot of people now” amid the controversy surrounding Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law banning discussions of sexual orientation in primary schools through third grade.