"Authoritarian socialist": Democratic governor slams Ron DeSantis' Disney stunt

“Florida's authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector are driving businesses away," said Jared Polis

By Jon Skolnik

Published April 22, 2022 11:22AM (EDT)

Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Chapek (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Disney CEO Bob Chapek (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Colorado Governor Jared Polis rebuked Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' "socialist attacks" on Disney, inviting the company to put down roots in the Centennial State amid its political showdown with the Florida GOP. 

"Florida's authoritarian socialist attacks on the private sector are driving businesses away," Polis tweeted on Tuesday. "In CO, we don't meddle in affairs of companies like @Disney or @Twitter."

"Hey @Disney we're ready for Mountain Disneyland and @twitter we're ready for Twitter HQ2, whoever your owners are," the Democrat added. 

RELATED: Bob Chapek finally condemns "Don't Say Gay" bill, but Disney employees say it's not enough

Polis' offering came just a day before the Florida Senate voted to strip the company of its decades-long special status that allows Disney to levy its own taxes and provide its own municipal services. This week, the Florida Senate and House approved a measure that would officially eliminate the Reedy Creek Improvement District, the company's governing jurisdiction and special taxing district. 

The political showdown appears to have its roots in Disney's objection to a Republican-led measure signed into law last month, when the state formally outlawed the instruction of any LGBTQ+ subjects in the classroom with what critics call the party's "Don't Say Gay" bill (HB 1557). 


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Shortly after the bill's signing, Disney CEO Bob Chapek rebuked the law, vowing to have it repealed. That promise did not sit well with the Florida GOP, which immediately accused the company of somehow playing into the hands of a "woke" agenda that allows for teachers to "groom" their own students. 

RELATED: #BoycottDisney: How Disney's new CEO has managed to anger both sides of the culture war

Apart from Disney, DeSantis has also waged a rhetorical crusade against Twitter for adopting a "poison pill," also known as a shareholder rights plan, that temporarily thwarted Tesla CEO Elon Musk's hostile takeover of the company. 

According to Bloomberg, Florida's state pension fund owns ​​949,690 shares of Twitter. DeSantis claimed that Twitter's poison pill "was probably an injury to the fund."

"So we're gonna be looking at ways that the state of Florida, potentially, can be holding this Twitter board of directors accountable for breaching their fiduciary duty," the governor said. 

Twitter is currently headquartered in San Francisco but the company has offices in Colorado.


Jon Skolnik

Jon Skolnik is a staff writer at Salon. His work has appeared in Current Affairs, The Baffler, and The New York Daily News.

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