Disney CEO Bob Iger Calls Ron DeSantis’ Policies ‘Anti-Florida’

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The feud between Ron DeSantis and Disney is heating up.

Disney CEO Bob Iger lashed out at the Florida governor Monday. He called DeSantis’ actions retaliatory, “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”

These comments came after DeSantis asked the state’s inspector general to determine whether Disney’s attempt to retain control over the outer limits of Orange and Osceola counties is legal.

Disney CEO Bob Iger Calls Ron DeSantis' Policies 'Anti-Florida'
(Photo by Joseph Prezioso/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Before DeSantis stepped in, the corporate giant was playing by its own rules — rules not afforded to other business in the state.

The Reddy Creek Improvement District had essentially functioned as Disney’s own autonomous city. Instead of answering to local or state governments, the company was able to do what it wanted.

In February, DeSantis signed legislation officially putting an end to the “corporate kingdom.”

And now, Iger is angry about it.

Disney’s feud with Ron DeSantis began in 2022.

After Disney publicly came out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill, DeSantis announced he’d move to strip Disney of its special governance.

“The governor got very angry about the position Disney took and seems like he’s decided to retaliate against us, including the naming of a new board to oversee the property and the business,” Iger said. “In effect, to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me.”

Iger said the company plans to spend more than $17 billion in investments at Walt Disney World over the next decade. He said it will create around 13,000 jobs and generate more taxes for Florida.

“Our point on this is that any action that supports those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida,” he said. “And I’ll just leave it at that.”

Ron DeSantis Signs Bill To End Disney's 'Corporate Kingdom'
(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

One could also argue, on the contrary, it’s anti-Florida to expect special treatment over other Floridians.

“Disney is again fighting to keep its special corporate benefits and dodge Florida law,” DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said. “We are not going to let that happen. As Governor DeSantis recently said, ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet.'”

Ron DeSantis isn’t the company’s only problem.

Disney is facing mass layoffs. Iger said Disney plans to slash 7,000 employees — with the first round coming this week.

Disney lost billions of dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic as it had to close its amusement parks and halt in-person film and TV productions. More recently, the company’s growth has slowed because of its investment in streaming services.

Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ have to compete in the market with superpowers like Apple, Netflix, Paramount and Amazon.

So with all of these problems on their hands, it’s no surprise Iger and the House of Mouse are desperately trying to cling to what power they have left in the Sunshine State.

Written by Amber Harding

Amber is a Midwestern transplant living in Murfreesboro, TN. She spends most of her time taking pictures of her dog, explaining why real-life situations are exactly like "this one time on South Park," and being disappointed by the Tennessee Volunteers.

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