Conservatives are right to be concerned with Big Tech censorship – and might be tempted to celebrate the Florida Legislature’s passage this week of one of Governor Ron DeSantis’ priority bills for this session: SB 7072, which cracks down on online platforms for their content moderation abuses. However, the bill includes one notable Disney exemption that leaves the company unscathed despite its own checkered history of cancel culture and catering to the wishes and demands of China’s government censors.
Or remember when Disney “canceled” actress Gina Carajo from “The Mandalorian” after she publicly defended Republicans?
That earlier outrage against Disney seems to have been forgotten as the final wheeling and dealing on this bill was happening to secure final approval. Late in the process, an amendment to the bill was passed exempting any company that might otherwise be captured by the bill if it “owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex”.
This was no accident. Even State Representative Blaise Ingoglia, the overall bill’s sponsor, acknowledged to The News Service of Florida that the intent of the amendment was to ensure Disney Plus “isn’t caught up in this.”
But why not? Shouldn’t Disney and any other company that cancels conservatives or bows to the pressure of China’s government censors be held accountable? If conservatives’ battle against cancel culture and censorship by woke corporations is going to be a principled one, then they should be consistent and hold everyone’s feet to the fire. In this case, they let Disney off the hook.
So on the surface, this bill looks like a cause for celebration by many. The conservatives who want to stick it to Big Tech. Governor DeSantis and the bill’s champions who made this a priority and will say they “took on Big Tech”. And Disney’s and other lobbyists who worked on this and are probably feeling pretty good about themselves for securing this exemption.
But if you are disgusted by woke corporations that like to scold us about not being in line with their woke values while then turning around and canceling conservatives and catering to China and its censorship “values,” then this was a missed opportunity to do something about it. And worse, that’s a cause for celebration in Beijing.