At least 10 major corporations made substantial donations “directly or indirectly” to the re-election campaign of Gov. Ron DeSantis, with three of them giving more than $2 million and are now touting their promotion of Black History Month, The Guardian news outlet reported.
Citing a study by the Washington-based Center for Political Accountability, the Guardian said that Duke Energy donated $2 million; Charter Communications, $530,000; and Disney, $175,000. Other companies that gave to DeSantis’ re-election campaign included Amazon, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Comcast, DoorDash, General Motors and Walmart. However, the dollar amounts were not provided in The Guardian story which was published online on Monday.
“These corporations can say that they stand with the Black community but then also fund the governor and his work around dismantling Black history,” Jasmine BurneyClark, founder of Orlando-based Equal Ground, told The Guardian. “It’s a huge level of hypocrisy.”
Duke Energy, which is based in Charlotte, NC, provides electricity to 8.2 million customers in six states, including Florida, as well as natural gas to 1.6 million homes. The Guardian said that, on Feb. 1, the company wrote in a tweet which said, in part, that Black History Month was “a time to celebrate the impact of African Americans, our commitment to fostering a culture of diversity, equity & inclusion is year round.”
Charter Communications, which offers home Internet, premium cable TV and sports, 5G mobile service and home phone under the Spectrum name, including Florida, is based in Stamford, Conn. According to The Guardian, the company gave $200,000 to Friends of Ron DeSantis, $125,000 to the Republican Party, and $205,000 to the Republican Governors Association (“both big donors to DeSantis”).
Disney, whose donation included $50,000 to the DeSantis re-election campaign and $125,000 to the Republican Party of Florida “which supported the campaign and his inauguration,” has been in the news more than the others because DeSantis retaliated against the company for criticizing his anti-gay policy. The governor, on authority provided by the Legislature, dissolved the governing board of Disney’s 50-year-old special taxing district and is setting up a new board of directors whom he will appoint.
“DeSantis has sought to position himself on the frontlines of American ‘culture wars’ as he considers a 2024 bid for the White House and tries to outflank former president Donald Trump, the only ofﬁcial well-known candidate so far,” The Guardian said. “Earlier this month, the second-term governor announced plans to block state colleges from having programs on diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as critical race theory, or CRT, which examines the ways in which racism was embedded into American law and other modern institutions, maintaining the dominance of white people.”
The Guardian noted also that the DeSantis administration recently rejected a new Advanced Placement course on African American studies, claiming it violated state law – which was recently passed -and was historically inaccurate. “In the new framework, topics including Black Lives Matter, reparations and queer theory are not part of the exam,” The Guardian noted. The course was prepared by the College Board which has since accused DeSantis of playing politics with the issue.