Woke corporate CEOs seem to think they know better than voters what is best for the country. These titans are throwing the weight and money of their businesses behind activists pushing gender fluidity lessons for kindergartens and other extreme political causes.
Expect this corporate activism to backfire. Companies should serve their customers, not try to override the democratic process, like thousand-pound gorillas destroying what the electorate – including their own customers – want.
Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Chapek said on Friday his opposition to a Florida state bill banning children in kindergarten through 3rd grade from learning to choose their sexual orientation. The bill also prohibits teachers from coaching children behind their parents’ backs on the issue.
Vowing to defend the “basic human rights” of the LGBTQ+ community, Chapek pledged $5 million to the human rights campaign. Even this huge amount of protection money was not enough.
The following night, at its annual star-studded gala in Hollywood, HRC removed Disney’s name from the list of sponsors. Acting HRC President Joni Madison explained the extortion: Disney money won’t be accepted until the company ‘puts on real muscle’ to kill Florida’s bill and others of the same kind.
This is what Hollywood thinks is good for America. But Florida voters, who elected state lawmakers and Governor Ron DeSantis, disagree.
DeSantis says he won’t back down on his commitment to “parental rights” under pressure from “woke companies.”
Something similar is happening in Texas, where 65 companies – including IBM, Capital One and Apple – signed a letter in the Dallas Morning News written by HRC opposing Governor Greg Abbott’s investigation into cases where young people children are treated for transition. Abbott worries that young people and their parents will be misled into treatments that later prove irreversible.
It’s complicated, so why not let Texas elected officials examine the facts? Who elected the HRC for anything?
Disney Chairman Peter Rice said the company stands for “human rights”. Absurdity. Nothing in Florida’s bill endangers human rights or allows anyone to be denigrated. Only parental rights are at stake. We should all show respect and support for the small number of children – less than half a percent – who actually suffer from gender dysphoria.
The bill prohibits the indoctrination of children between the ages of 4 and 7 to become transgender.
HRC wants this indoctrination. It offers a K-3 lesson plan around the book “Julian is a Mermaid”. The guide says teachers should tell children they can choose their gender and pronouns, regardless of their body or the clothes their parents give them to wear. Teachers also need to reassure them that they can be different at school than their families expect at home.
Another K-3 lesson plan with the book “I Am Jazz” tells teachers to say “gender is a spectrum, not a binary.”
Most parents object to children being force-fed these messages.
Disney prides itself on being at the forefront of the LGBTQ+ movement, offering gay on-screen characters and LGBTQ-themed merchandise. In July, Disney introduced its first non-binary character, Raine Whispers, on “The Owl House,” joining two gay characters, Luz and Amity. Raine Whispers is played by an actor who identifies as non-binary, transgender and queer.
It is very good. Outside of school, parents can control what their children watch and avoid Disney products, if they wish.
But at school, parents have to set limits. This is what Disney neglects.
What we are seeing – ill-informed business leaders moving to the left without knowing the facts – is a repeat of last year’s “voting rights” fiasco in Georgia.
In April, giant corporations including Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball announced a Georgia state boycott, repeating Democratic claims that a recently passed election law was racist.
In fact, Georgia law reinstated longstanding safeguards set aside during COVID, including voter ID. Business leaders protested that some 200,000 Georgians did not have driving licenses. Yes, but the law allows many other forms of identification, including a social security number, utility bill, or paycheck.
Reading the law before calling for a boycott would have helped.
Now, woke politicians pushing extreme agendas like transgender indoctrination will face opposition from rabid parents in the midterm elections. Companies intimidated into joining these pols should beware: these parents can also vote with their wallets.
– Betsy McCaughey is a former Lieutenant Governor of New York and author of “The Next Pandemic,” available at Amazon.co.uk. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To learn more about Betsy McCaughey and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.