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Liberal media outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, PBS and ABC, as well as various celebrities, took to the airwaves to criticize Florida’s Parental Rights Law, slamming conservatives and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, with some even pushing a false narrative that you can’t say the word “gay” in the Sunshine State.
Dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill by critics, some public figures took the epithet a bit too literally when they claimed the new legislation actually made it illegal to utter the word gay in the state of Florida.
In actuality, the law states that classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” cannot occur in kindergarten through third grade “or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.”
In this photo from Feb. 24, 2022, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks at the 2022 CPAC conference at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando.
(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
During a “Saturday Night Live” skit between Kate McKinnon and Colin Jost on March 5, McKinnon jokingly said that the law was “amazing” since she was “tortured” by kids using the word gay in a derogatory way against her when she was young.
“Ron DeSantis has taken a stand and said, ‘No, you cannot say gay in school anymore!’ I’m so jazzed. And in Florida, of all places!” McKinnon said.
“The law actually means that you can’t acknowledge that gay exists at all,” Jost replied, to McKinnon’s “shock.”
CNN’s Don Lemon similarly misinterpreted the law on Feb. 9 when he said that he would have had a better time growing up gay if he had “more information” in schools about it, rather than keep it secret.
“Listen, growing up—I guess I can’t say gay,” Lemon said, while whispering the word in question. “Because they don’t want you to say gay,” Lemon added, as his guest, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates jokingly whispered “shhh” with her finger over her mouth.
Far-left actor Ron Perlman took a more aggressive approach when speaking out against the law, again misinterpreting the meaning of the legislation before calling DeSantis a “Nazi piece of s—.”
“Don’t say gay? Don’t say? As the first two words in a sentence spoken by a political leader of a state in the United States of America. Don’t say?” Perlman said in a video posted March 29. “Don’t f—ing say you f—ing Nazi pig? Say! First Amendment. Read about it. Then run for office. You piece of s—.” Perlman said.
Ron Perlman attends the 7th Annual Ed Asner And Friends Poker Tournament Celebrity Night at CBS Studios – Radford on June 01, 2019 in Studio City, California.
((Photo by JC Olivera/Getty Images))
Some celebrity critics just decided to voice their opposition to the law by saying the word gay over and over again, including at the Oscars.
“We’re going to have a great night tonight,” said co-host Wanda Sykes. “And for you people in Florida, we’re going to have a gay night.”
She and Amy Schumer and Regina Hall then loudly repeated the word over and over again to the amusement of the crowd, who laughed and applauded.
During promotion of the newly released Disney property and Marvel television show “Moon Knight,” show star Oscar Isaac also responded to a question about the law just prior to company’s public stance against the legislation.
“I guess my comment would be, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay…” Isaac replied, becoming more harmonic as his repetition continued. Moments later, he called the law “absolutely ridiculous” and urged Disney to come out “as forcefully as possible” against it.
ABC late night host Jimmy Kimmel.
Besides the misinterpretation, various members of the media and their guests used a portion of their coverage of the law to further attack DeSantis as well as conservatives generally.
“Under the new law a teacher can’t explain that their governor is a d—head,” Jimmy Kimmel said on a March 29 installment of ABC’s late night show “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “That kind of language is not allowed anymore so it’s up to parents to explain that their governor is a d—head.”
On MSNBC, host Chris Hayes asserted last week that the conservative movement is “restarting its war against gay people,” while in another MSNBC segment, New York Times columnist Charles Blow said DeSantis was taking “venom and vitriol” and turning it into policy.
Blow later said the bill was too “broad” and written in such a way intentionally as a “terror tactic” by the Florida GOP.
Washington Post staff artist Michael De Adler also published a cartoon last week in the newspaper that depicted DeSantis standing in front of dead children.
“I’m protecting Florida’s children from you,” DeSantis says in the artist’s depiction as he speaks with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
On March 12, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart lambasted the bill and the Republican Party on PBS News Hour when he said GOP leadership was “hideous and horrendous” and claimed that the law would hurt LGBTQIA+ kids and their families.
On March 28, DeSantis signed the parental rights bill Into law.
“In Florida, we not only know that parents have a right to be involved, we insist that parents have a right to be involved,” DeSantis said at a press conference at the Classical Preparatory School in Spring Hill, Florida.
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