This past Monday, March 28, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed into law H.B. 1557, Parental Rights in Education. The measure, which prohibits employees of the state’s public schools from teaching children in third grade and below about sexuality and gender ideology in the classroom, has sparked controversy. Critics of the bill, while insisting that no instruction about such matters is given to begin with and therefore need not be outlawed, frantically predicted that the prohibition will have disastrous consequences.
In the not-at-all-hysterical framing of Chasten Buttigieg, “This will kill kids.” Imagine the tidal wave of suicides that will certainly ensue now that some left-wing midwit with a B.A. in psychology cannot tell other people’s six-year-olds about habitual male-on-male sodomy. What if some poor kid’s second-grade teacher never gets to tell him that boys can actually be girls if they feel like girls—that he, despite all contrary indications, might even be a girl himself? Who could possibly survive such deprivation? Who, if not taxpayer-funded educators, will teach the youth of America the ins and outs of queerness?
Disney, thank heavens, has stepped into the breach. The children’s entertainment behemoth—after a round condemnation from some more radical employees for failure to oppose the Florida bill enthusiastically enough—has been running round-the-clock damage control. Statements have been issued condemning the bill, criticizing the governor, and reaffirming the $200-billion company’s absolute commitment to its LGBTQIA employees. Though late to the game, Disney has become by far the loudest institutional voice against Florida’s anti-grooming bill, and earned the scorn of conservatives for it.
So, at the Bulwark, Charlie Sykes frets “that the entrepreneurs of culture war have grown tired of ginning up indignation about ‘Drag Queen Story Hour,’ CRT, and the cancellation of Dr. Seuss. And so they have found a bright new shiny object of outrage, that bastion of moral decadence and wokeness, the Walt Disney Company.”
I am not sure decadence can have bastions, but if “bastion of moral decadence” is not an oxymoron, then surely it applies to Disney as well as it could apply to anything.
Sykes quotes Tucker Carlson, “tak[ing] time out from his Putin-fluffing”: “They have a sexual agenda for six-year-old children. You’d think that’s illegal in some way. It’s certainly immoral. It’s creepy as hell. And yet they are the country’s leading purveyor of children’s programming. That’s a problem, no?” [Emphasis in original.]
The editor of the Bulwark does not bother to explain why he (presumably) disagrees. Carlson’s casting of “a sexual agenda for six-year-old children” as “immoral”, “creepy”, and “a problem” is presented without comment—to Sykes, it seems, such characterization is self-evidently absurd.
The fact that Carlson is obviously correct does not seem to bother him. I hope, for his sake, that Charlie Sykes would agree that a global megacorporation using its stranglehold on the children’s and family markets to sell left-wing sexual ideology to kids in their formative years is, in fact, a problem. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he just doesn’t believe it’s happening.
But this is hardly a more defensible position. Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who rose to prominence reporting on critical race theory in schools and elsewhere, has Disney’s rainbow militants dead to rights. In one video posted to Rufo’s Twitter, a production coordinator named Allen March boasts of “exploring queer stories” in work on a show called Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. March worries that, because it may not be obvious that a cartoon character is gay or trans, these characters must be given “stories where they can, like, be their whole selves”—that is, stories that center and highlight their sexual proclivities on a children’s show.
In another video, Disney General Entertainment president Karey Burke introduces herself “as a mother of two queer children, actually: um, uh, one transgender child, um, um, and one pansexual child.” Burke goes on to lament the fact that, despite the “many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in [Disney] stories” generally, very few of them are leads.
In tweeting the video, Rufo mentioned that Burke “wants a minimum of 50 percent of characters to be LGBTQIA and racial minorities.” Sykes and other liberal critics have pointed out that those words are not in the 2-minute clip, snarking that “minor details, like actual facts, are unlikely to change the momentum of the right’s assault on Disney.” But it only takes a minute or two to find the promise on the official site of Disney’s DEI initiative, rather tellingly titled “Reimagine Tomorrow.”
The 50 percent quota is just one small part of a much broader effort by Disney to fight the culture war over the airwaves and beyond. The company has even phased out the use of gendered language at Disney theme parks. No more boys and girls, no more ladies and gentlemen; just “dreamers of all ages” and their trans/pansexual kids.
Disney’s goal, backed by hundreds of billions of dollars and foisted on a captive market, is the goal of all social progressivism: the erasure of sacred boundaries—between family and state, between man and woman, and (God help us) between child and adult.