Amid all the posturing and grandstanding Disney is doing over Florida’s Parents Rights in Education Law, the company continues to do business with countries that criminalize gay residents.
In Saudi Arabia and Yemen, homosexuality is punishable by death. That, however, has no bearing on Disney+ being streamed to their millions of customers. Even Disney Cruises, whose travelers could very well face criminal prosecution for even suspected gay activity, continue to dock in countries hostile to the values the company says it defends.
Passengers regularly disembark in Jamaica, Antigua, and Barbuda; Dominica; and St. Maarten. Antigua punishes same-sex activity with up to 15 years in prison, and same-sex marriage is illegal. St. Maarten does not allow performing same-sex marriages or changing a person’s legal gender.
A 9-night cruise to these destinations starts at $3,870 per person. Travelers may book trips on the “Adventures by Disney” program and vacation in Egypt, where being gay also means facing legal discrimination.
And it’s not only the Caribbean and Middle East where Disney has no issue doing business with oppressors. As Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla) recently tweeted, the company is stone silent about China’s communist dictatorship and even genocide since it “would cost them billions of $’s.” He correctly notes they have no issue lying about democratically passed laws in Florida.
Disney executives initially hesitated to wade into political waters over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ bill to prohibit teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity to kindergarteners up to third graders. The bill that detractors falsely label as “Don’t Say Gay.” But an outcry from employees and left-wing activists changed the company’s mind, and now the family entertainment giant is stridently opposed to the legislation.
In response, the Florida legislature voted last week to strip the company of its special tax status and ability to self-govern. DeSantis, a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, blasted the idea that a Burbank, California-based corporation will dictate policy to Florida parents.
If Disney as a corporation wants to take a stand against what it sees as injustice — and the shareholders are ok with it — it is perfectly free to do so. But that stand should be consistent across the board, and both the company and shareholders should not complain when blowback that is 100% predictable and preventable arrives.