The governing board appointed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tasked with overseeing Walt Disney World and its affiliated properties announced plans on Tuesday to gut the district’s use of DEI programs.
“The so-called diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives were advanced during the tenure of the previous board and they were illegal and simply unamerican,” Glenton Gilzean, director of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, said in a statement. “Our district will no longer participate in any attempt to divide us by race or advance the notion that we are not created equal.”
For context, DEI — which stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion — is a divisive and poisonous ideology that dismisses merit to discriminate based on characteristics such as skin color and sexual preference. Individuals who qualify for a certain position due to their merits but don’t meet the discriminating entity’s goal of being more “diverse” are passed over in favor of those who meet the preferred identitarian standards.
In its Tuesday announcement, the oversight board further revealed an internal investigation into the policies of its predecessor — the Disney-appointed Reedy Creek Improvement District — found that the district “routinely awarded contracts based on racially and gender driven goals to businesses on the basis of their owners’ race and gender” and implemented quotas based on these factors “to ensure that contractors met a certain threshold of diversity.” The use of such policies and the district’s DEI committee will now be terminated, according to the board.
The ongoing dispute between DeSantis and Disney started last year after the latter launched a grossly dishonest attack against state Republicans for passing a parental rights bill that prevents educators from instructing children in kindergarten through third grade on topics such as sexual orientation and so-called “gender identity.” Bending the knee to leftists — who maliciously labeled the measure as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill — then-Disney CEO Bob Chapek parroted Democrats’ lie that the law “could be used to target [LGBT] kids and families.”
He furthermore claimed the company would be “reassessing [its] approach to advocacy, including political giving in Florida and beyond.”
In response, DeSantis and Florida Republicans passed legislation stripping Disney of its self-governing authority within the Reedy Creek Improvement District. DeSantis later announced five new appointees to the district’s board in February, shortly after lawmakers advanced legislation renaming the jurisdiction to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
As The Federalist’s Tristan Justice previously reported, the now-former supervisors running the then-Reedy Creek Improvement District “signed an 11th-hour resolution [in February] to hand Disney maximum authority over the company’s 27,000 acres in central Florida,” effectively leaving “the DeSantis-appointed successors on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board … powerless to govern Disney in their own state.”
According to a source who previously spoke with The Federalist, however, Disney’s attempted runaround “skipped key steps when amending its developmental agreement, rendering the resolution null and void.” This prompted DeSantis to order an investigation into the matter in April.
Several weeks after DeSantis’ order, Disney filed a lawsuit in federal court against the governor and state officials, alleging a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” against the company for its opposition to the Parental Rights in Education bill. Meanwhile, the DeSantis-appointed Central Florida Tourism Oversight District “voted unanimously” to countersue in state court a few days later.
A state-level judge denied Disney’s motion to dismiss the board’s suit on Friday.