TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — On Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis told Tucker Carlson that Apple should be investigated for antitrust violations, accusing the company of siding with the Chinese Communist Party regime amid protests in the country. He also made it clear that he lacks any sympathy for Disney, whose losses totaled $1.47 billion in the 2022 fiscal fourth quarter.
In his appearance on the Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight, the governor said that Florida would stand up for what’s right even under pressure from large corporations. “I don’t care what a Burbank-based California company says about our laws,” DeSantis stated.
“A HUGE BLOW FOR FREE SPEECH”
DeSantis pointed to a connection between what Apple is currently doing in China and what Apple is doing in the United States. The Chinese Communist Party’s zero COVID policies – including brutally enforced lockdowns – recently prompted citizens to rise up in mass protests.
“You have people in China that are really engaged in a noble effort to protest,” DeSantis told Carlson. “What is Apple doing with that? They are limiting the Airdrop function of the protestors. They are serving basically as a vassal to the Chinese Communist Party.”
“Then, on the other hand, here in the United States, what are they doing?” DeSantis asked. “They are trying to get Elon Musk’s Twitter off the app store potentially – which would be a huge blow for free speech,” DeSantis added.
On Monday, Elon Musk said that Apple threatened to block the social network from its App Store without explanation. He also added that Apple, Twitter’s top advertiser, had almost stopped advertising entirely on Twitter.
If Apple blocks Twitter from its App Store, new users would no longer be able to download the Twitter app on their iPhones and iPads, and existing users would not be able to access updates.
BIG TECH CENSORSHIP
According to DeSantis, Apple may be one of the most influential companies in American history. His concern is that they are using their influence to protect the Chinese Communist Party while also working to limit free speech here in America.
“We did a big tech censorship bill” in Florida, DeSantis said, referring to Senate Bill 7072, which he signed on May 24, 2021. “It’s been caught up in the courts – I think the U.S. Supreme Court is going to accept that case for this term.”
DeSantis believes it’s crucial for states to “protect people’s right to engage in free expression.” However, the governor added that he feels Congress should look at antitrust regarding large, influential tech companies, specifically Apple, because he feels they are exercising massive amounts of power over our society.
“GO WOKE, GO BROKE”
Disney was one of the big companies that benefited for years from a special status in Florida, including the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID). The special governing and taxing district for the land of Walt Disney World Resort was allowed to act with the same authority and responsibility as a county government.
When Disney publicly criticized DeSantis after he signed the Parental Rights in Education law, the company tried to use its influence to push a woke agenda, according to the governor. Referring to the bill as “Don’t Say Gay,” Disney vowed to get the law repealed.
Just ten days ago, Disney’s former CEO Bob Iger stepped out of retirement and took back the helm from Bob Chapek. Heavily criticized for his public relations missteps, political controversy, and unpopular business decisions, Chapek was forced out by Disney’s board of directors.
IGER SIGNALS RETREAT
In a town hall this week with Disney employees, Iger was asked questions about Disney’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, including whether he would avoid making further political statements.
“There’s a missed idea of what politics is,” Iger responded. “I don’t think when you’re telling stories and trying to be a good citizen of the world, that’s politics. It’s not. I’m going to try quiet things down, but all subjects shouldn’t be political.”
Iger went further, saying, “I was sorry to see us dragged into that battle. And I have no idea exactly what its ramifications are in terms of the business itself. What I can say is the state of Florida has been important to us for a long time, and we have been very important to the state of Florida.”
But DeSantis disagrees with Iger’s take on the matter. “We didn’t drag them in,” he told Carlson. “They went in on their own and not only opposed the bill – they threatened to get it repealed.”
“These are parents’ rights. Important policies in our state that are very popular. And so they brought this on themselves. All we did was stand up for what’s right,” DeSantis said.