Ron DeSantis Appointee To Disney World Special District Pushed Conspiracy Theory That Tap Water May Be Turning People Gay — Report
One of Ron DeSantis’ appointees to a special district that will oversee Walt Disney World once amplified a conspiracy theory that tap water could be turning people gay, according to a report from CNN.
Ron Peri, the CEO of The Gathering, a Christian ministry, also disparaged homosexuality, calling it “shameful,” according to CNN.
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Peri was one of five people named to the board of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, which was set up 55 years ago to oversee land use, infrastructure and fire services on the theme park property. DeSantis signed a law earlier this week that give him the power to appoint members of the board, subject to approval by the Senate, in a move that stripped Disney over control of the property. The district also will be renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District.
In a video of a January 2022 Zoom discussion, Peri claimed, without evidence, that higher levels of estrogen in the water from birth control pills led to lower levels of testosterone in men.
“So why are there homosexuals today? There are any number of reasons, you know, that are given. Some would say the increase in estrogen in our societies,” he said, according to the CNN report. He also linked homosexuality to disease.
Peri also said, according to the KFile report, “There are a lot of unhealthy effects of a homosexual lifestyle. There are diseases, but it goes beyond that.”
Peri could not be reached. He did not respond to the network’s request for comment.
Disney and DeSantis also did not respond to requests for comment.
DeSantis’ own statements and his appointees, who also include a high-end political donor and two conservative activists, have raised concerns that the board would try to influence the company’s content decisions, even though the district’s authority is supposed to be related to things like roads and other types of infrastructure.
When he signed the law, DeSantis said, “When you lose your way, you know, you gotta have people that are going to tell you the truth, and so we hope that they can get back on. I think all these board members very much would like to see the type of entertainment that all families can appreciate.”
After Disney announced its opposition to a parental rights law — dubbed “don’t say gay” by detractors — DeSantis championed the effort to dissolve the Reedy Creek district. But quickly there were concerns by nearby counties that their taxpayers would be left to pay off more than $1 billion in bond debt from the district. He instead led an effort to retain the district, but to place it under state control.
Democrats blasted DeSantis’ move, but some Republicans have, too. Former Vice President Mike Pence said on CNBC that “the idea of going after their taxing authority, that was beyond the scope of what I as a conservative limited government Republican would be prepared to do.”
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