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The latest hot take from the liberal media outlet Vox is that, in its feud with Florida Republican lawmakers, the Walt Disney Company is the victim that “found itself in the middle of a culture war” it “hates being” in.
The Disney-sympathetic piece, written by senior culture reporter Alex Abad-Santos, described how the entertainment company has found itself in an unappealing “conflict” with Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., despite its best efforts to remain inoffensive over the years.
Abad-Santos wrote on Friday, “Conflict means taking sides. Conflict means making enemies. Conflict means personally defining what’s right and what’s wrong. None of those things are appealing to a company that’s ridden high-gloss inoffensiveness to become the richest and most powerful entertainment company in the world.”
Doubling down on that point, the reporter added, “Yet, despite its immense financial power and commitment to deflecting confrontation, Disney has found itself stuck in a rather complicated one.”
He then introduced the two combatants in this story, the first being DeSantis and his supporters and the second “Disney’s LGBTQ employees, fans, and their allies.”
Abad-Santos wrote, “On one side we have DeSantis, his presidential hopes, and his cohort, who are determined to punish Disney for breaking ranks with their anti-LGBTQ bill, which has culminated in loud-if-ineffective protests outside of Disney World.”
He described the LGBTQ side as a group “who, despite reassurances from Disney, are still skeptical about how much the company is committed to the diversity and inclusivity it sells.”
“Despite its political battle with DeSantis and its ongoing damage control with the LGBTQ community, perhaps the biggest fight the company is facing is its identity crisis,” he added.
Abad-Santos then claimed, “Disney has created an image that Disney is for everyone. The company’s political fight with DeSantis — a fight that DeSantis is more than happy to have spilled onto the national stage — could very well shatter that portrait one way or another.”
He then sought to explain “[h]ow Disney found itself at the center of the political theater, and why it hates being there.”
Though, “the House of Mouse came out in opposition of Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill,” he put the onus on DeSantis, “who signed the bill into existence.”
“DeSantis has since begun a bold, attention-grabbing attack against Disney, using inflammatory language with newly engineered anti-gay undertones to portray it as an enemy of right-wing politics,” he wrote.
Abad-Santos then claimed that DeSantis has inflicted a “theoretical” boycott on the company “by revoking Disney’s special self-governing status” and cited University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business professor Maurice Schweitzer, who claimed this was all for publicity.
“I don’t think he actually wants or expects that he’s going to change anything at Disney. I think he really just wants the media attention,” Schweitzer stated, adding that it’s because DeSantis is primarily concerned with “his own image and posturing for a presidential run.”
Abad-Santos described Disney as an “appetizing target” for DeSantis because it hasn’t followed the “trend of corporate activism.” The company has wanted to “minimize its exposure,” he wrote, adding, “Its wishy-washy reaction to the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is an example of that.”
The way Abad-Santos described it happening, “Before finally taking a stand against the anti-LGBTQ bill, the company wavered multiple times.” Thus, “the company managed to find itself as a target from both ends of the political spectrum” after “Disney has historically built its success on appealing to everyone.”
The longer this plays out, with all sides wanting to know where the company stands, “Disney will have to spell out its stance, especially since the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill revolves around the education of children — Disney’s primary audience.”
The piece concluded by calling the whole thing “political theater.”
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