TikTok Roasts DeSantis After Disney Defeats Him with ‘King Charles Clause’
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis believed he had defeated Disney for daring to oppose his “Don’t Say Gay” bill and culture
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis believed he had defeated Disney for daring to oppose his “Don’t Say Gay” bill and culture war agenda.
DeSantis was able to force Disney to abandon its status as an independent district, known as the Reedy Creek Improvement District, and replaced its board members with 5 hand-picked conservative pals.
But Disney may have just gotten the last laugh.
Just before Florida’s legislature voted to dismantle the independent district and put Disney’s tax future in the hands of DeSantis, Disney and Reedy Creek voted to figuratively tie the hands of future board members – and they involved England’s monarch, King Charles III.
Here’s what happened, and why TikTok is now roasting the Florida Governor.
The Battle so Far Between Disney and DeSantis
@heidytorr2 I’m laughing on the floor! Dosney for the win! #disney #rondesantis #rondesanctimonious #politics #florida #disneyworld #republicans #retrumplicans #jajaja #lol #outsmarted #rondeathsentence #lol #greenscreen ♬ Monkeys Spinning Monkeys – Kevin MacLeod & Kevin The Monkey
It all started in March 2022.
Governor DeSantis signed the infamous and controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill which prohibits classroom instruction and discussion about sexual orientation and gender identity in certain elementary school grades. Since then, the bill has been extended to all K-12 grade levels.
Disney’s then-CEO Bill Chapek joined critics in slamming the bill, decrying its effects on vulnerable and developing children and their ability to learn free from outside influences. LGBTQ advocates called it descriminatory and dangerous.
DeSantis hit back at Disney after Chapek spoke up, famously saying, “If Disney wants to pick a fight, they chose the wrong guy.”
DeSantis was able to use his red supermajority in the Florida legislature to pass laws stripping Disney of their special tax exempt status. Prior to the passage of the new laws, Reedy Creek was responsible for upkeeping its own area – and therefore didn’t pay taxes to the state to maintain roads and services within the district.
The New York Times writes, “The Legislature allowed Mr. DeSantis to take away Disney’s special status in 2022 until it realized that the abolishment of the district — set for June 1, 2023 — would require taxpayers in Orange and Osceola Counties to pick up the tab for Disney World services like fire protection, policing and road maintenance.
The district also carried roughly $1 billion in debt. If the district had been abolished, that debt would have been transferred to the counties.
Looking to avoid the implications of abolishing the district, the Florida Legislature held a special session this month, during which state lawmakers decided to allow Disney to keep the special tax district and other perks, including the ability to issue tax-exempt bonds.”
But even though the special tax district was reinstated, DeSantis retained the ability to appoint new board members, which he did using 5 controversial and handpicked conservative allies in his plan to thwart Disney’s so-called “woke” agenda.
What is Disney’s ‘King Charles Clause’?
@themeparksentertainment The King Charles Clause is not what I expected to learn about Disney World today #disneyworld #waltdisneyworld #greenscreen ♬ Nothing Can Stop Us Now – Kyle Allen Music
But Disney wasn’t willing to go down quietly. They weren’t prepared to go down at all.
So they used everything within their legal power to lure DeSantis into a false sense of power, and then flipped the script in an extraordinary way.
CNBC reports, “While Disney remained quiet on the matter for months, it seems the House of Mouse had been hatching a plan to retain its control over the land within the outer limits of Orange and Osceola counties.
On Feb. 8, the day before the Florida House voted to put DeSantis in charge, the previous Disney-allied board signed a long-lasting development agreement that drastically limits the control that can be exercised over the company and its district.
As part a 30-year development agreement, Disney no longer needs board approval to build high-density projects or buildings of any height and can sell or assign development rights. It also bans the board from using Disney’s name or any of its characters.”
The agreement includes a royal clause that dates all the way back to 1692 in Britain and extends its term limit for at least several decades.
The agreement reads that the ‘Declaration shall continue in effect until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England, living as of the date of this declaration.’ Clauses of this kind are most often used in the UK, often invoked when it comes to trusts to provide a buffer against perpetuities.
The clause could last for 60 years, 80, or even 100.
CNBC adds, “‘This essentially makes Disney the government,’ Ron Peri, one of the new board members appointed to the CFTOD by DeSantis, said at the Feb. 27 meeting. ‘This board loses, for practical purposes, the majority of its ability to do anything beyond maintain the roads and maintain basic infrastructure.’”
Florida’s Republican legislature is looking for ways to void the agreement, but Disney says their actions were all legal and above-board.
Walt Disney Resort released a statement which read in part, “All agreements signed between Disney and the District were appropriate, and were discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida’s Government in the Sunshine law.”
And TikTok is having a field day with it.
TikTok Blasts DeSantis for Losing to Disney After Crowing About Victory
@craftyfeminist Its happening people! #Disney is fighting back. Disney tired the new Tourism Oversight districts hands out in the open in the last Reedy Creek board meeting they had. I love this for them!!!! #Florida #FlaPols ♬ original sound – Lissette
A quick search of “Disney Reedy Creek” on TikTok shows dozens of videos of creators mocking DeSantis’s misstep and Disney’s brilliant maneuvering.
With millions of combined views, these videos showcase the kind of culture war tension that has marked DeSantis’s time in office.
While hard-line conservatives and politicos loving DeSantis, the people seem to be a little less warm on him, especially after he tried to dismantle Disney.
After all, Republicans are generally very pro-corporation and anti-centralized governmental power. But DeSantis has shown himself willing to wield the government’s strength in whatever culture war cause he picks for the day – making business owners in the Sunshine State and around the nation more than a little nervous about his greater agenda.
On TikTok, users are mocking DeSantis for being “tricked,” “outsmarted,” and having “lost” to the mega-corporation.
While corporations aren’t high on the list of Gen Z and Millennials’ favorite people, neither is DeSantis. And it would seem in this head to head, they’re backing the Mouse – who appears to be on top.