Did DeSantis’ scorched-earth blitz against Disney spook woke corporations?

By Laurel Duggan, DCNF

Corporations are largely silent on the likely overturning of Roe v. Wade, and many were advised to stay quiet after Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ scorched-earth fight with Disney.

Disney’s recent tangle with DeSantis ended with him stripping the company of its special administrative zone and accompanying privileges and with Disney taking a step back from politics. CEOs then began strategizing to avoid becoming the “next Disney,” according to The Wall Street Journal, and most companies have avoided debate about the likely overturning of Roe.

The video game industry has been quiet about the abortion news despite most gaming companies taking public stances on Black Lives Matter and anti-Asian hate in recent years, according to The Washington Post. Only two of the 20 companies the outlet contacted responded with statements, and neither discussed the Supreme Court case at hand.

“We are committed to an inclusive environment that is supportive of all of our employees,” a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard told The Washington Post. “As a company, providing fair and equitable health care is a top priority, and we will closely monitor developments in the coming weeks and months.”

Microsoft expressed its commitment to helping employees get abortions within what the law permits but did not comment on the Court’s likely decision to overturn Roe.

“Microsoft will continue to do everything we can under the law to protect our employees’ rights and support employees and their enrolled dependents in accessing critical health care — which already includes services like abortion and gender-affirming care — regardless of where they live across the U.S.,” the company told The Washington Post. “This support is being extended to include travel expense assistance for these and other medical services where access to care is limited in availability in an employee’s home geographic region.”

Zeno, a public relations firm that advises Coca-Cola, Hershey’s, Salesforce, Netflix and Starbucks, reportedly told its clients not to comment on the landmark abortion case in the 24 hours after the news broke, Popular Information reported, citing a client memo.

Netflix has not put out a statement on abortion, and the company released a memo Friday in response to activist employees which said, “If you find it hard to support our content breadth, Netflix may not be the best place for you.”

Large corporations including Walmart, Disney, Meta, PwC, Salesforce, JPMorgan Chase, ThirdLove, Patagonia, Kroger and Business Roundtable that have been vocal about politics in the past wouldn’t comment on whether they planned to make statements about their abortion stances, according to The New York Times.

CNBC and Fortune reached out to dozens of the largest corporations in the U.S. in the days after the news broke about the likely end of Roe, but few gave comments about the landmark case.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Match Group, American Airlines, Walmart, Facebook, Microsoft, Comcast, Target, Lyft, GoDaddy, Glossier, Patagonia and Madewell for comments about the case. Match Group declined to comment and the other companies did not respond.

Disney came out against the Parental Rights in Education Act, which bars classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, March 28. DeSantis signed the bill into law that day and dissolved Disney’s Reedy Creek Improvement District April 22.

The company quickly stepped out of the fight and stopped publicly commenting on the legislation. Republican lawmakers had reportedly told Disney they may be able to salvage their special administrative district if they stopped sparring with DeSantis, according to the WSJ.

“It was unfortunate that Disney decided to wade into a political debate and attempt to undermine a common-sense law, enacted by a duly elected legislature and signed by a duly elected governor, with the support of the vast majority of Floridians,” a DeSantis spokesperson told TheDCNF in April.

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