‘Sad day at happiest place on earth’: Nazi flags flown outside Florida Disney World

Jewish groups call for Florida officials to condemn appearance of swastika banners outside amusement park; ADL denounces ‘abhorrent display of antisemitism’

Protesters wave swastika flags outside of Disney World in Florida on May 7, 2022 (Screen capture/Twitter)
Protesters wave swastika flags outside of Disney World in Florida on May 7, 2022 (Screen capture/Twitter)

Jewish groups on Monday called on Florida officials to condemn an incident where protesters outside Disney World flew swastika flags and yelled slogans at people entering the amusement park.

The Anti-Defamation League called it “an abhorrent display of antisemitism.”

“At a time when incidents of anti-Jewish hate are at their highest, it is incumbent upon all in positions of power and leadership to condemn this bigotry,” the group said.

The Florida Holocaust Museum also slammed the incident and called for action.

“It’s a sad day for humanity when even Disney World – the ‘happiest place on earth’ – is not immune to blatant antisemitism,” the museum said in a statement.

“Displays of Nazi imagery are repugnant, and this demonstration was clearly meant to offend and provoke. No family should be confronted with threatening symbols of hate, least of all on vacation,” the statement said.

The museum called on Florida officials “to come together and speak with one voice in opposition to those who support Nazis and their poisonous ideology.”

It was not clear why the protesters, who have held similar protests in Orlando several times this year, were targeting Disney.

However, some reports said that the protesters also had an American flag and a sign that said “DeSantis Country.” Disney is currently embroiled in a dispute with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.

In April, officials at Disney objected to a Florida law prohibiting instruction in sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, which critics call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

DeSantis responded by signing a bill revoking Disney’s self-governing status, a unique arrangement in which the company operated like an independent fiefdom within the state.

But DeSantis has also been criticized for his handling of previous Nazi protests in his state. He declined to specifically condemn a Nazi rally in February, instead attacking Democrats for attempting to smear him in connection with the small gathering that saw two dozen people in Orlando waving swastikas, stomping on Israeli flags, and yelling antisemitic epithets at passersby.

“So what I’m going to say is these people, these Democrats who are trying to use this as some type of political issue to try to smear me as if I had something to do with it, we’re not playing their game,” DeSantis told reporters when asked about the incidents.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Miami’s Freedom Tower, May 9, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

While he did not condemn the Nazis, he did call them “jackasses” and said they could be prosecuted for protesting on an overpass.

Those rallies were held near the campus of Central Florida University, which has a large Jewish student body, and near Disney World.

There was no immediate comment on the incident from DeSantis or Disney.

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