'Anti-business' and 'anti-Florida': Disney CEO blasts Ron DeSantis' crusade against the company

'Anti-business' and 'anti-Florida': Disney CEO blasts Ron DeSantis' crusade against the company
Image via Creative Commons.

Walt Disney Company Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger tore into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) over his crusade against the entertainment giant during an address at the corporation's annual shareholders meeting earlier this week.

After Disney publicly condemned Florida's draconian "Don't Say Gay" law, "DeSantis and the Florida Legislature restricted Disney's autonomy in February by appointing a handpicked oversight board for a special tax district, enacted in 1967, that has effectively allowed the company to self-govern Disney World. Previously, Disney selected the board members," The New York Timesnoted. "But the new appointees — and, apparently, the governor — realized only last week that the Disney-controlled board, as one of its final actions, pushed through a development agreement with the company that would limit the new board's power for decades to come. The agreement gave Disney vast control over future construction in the district; the new board doesn't have any say."

Iger believes that DeSantis' actions are anathema to economics and also violate fundamental American freedoms.

READ MORE: How a far-right MAGA think tank is feeding Ron DeSantis' 'anti-woke' obsessions: report

"But a year ago, the, the company took a position on pending Florida legislation, and while the company may have not handled the position that it took very well, a company has a right to freedom of speech, just like individuals do. And obviously, in taking the position, 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, in effect, to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me against any company or individual, but particularly against the company that means so much to the state that you live in," Iger said.

"And to give, to put that in perspective, we have over seventy-five thousand employees, which I noted in my opening. Countless thousands of indirect jobs have been created. About fifty million visitors will go through our gates this year alone. About eight million of them from outside the US. And, we are the largest taxpayer in the state. And you may find this interesting as it relates to future taxes, but we're currently planning now to invest over seventeen billion dollars in Walt Disney World over the next ten years. And those investments we estimate, will create thirteen thousand new Disney jobs, and thousands of other indirect jobs and they'll also attract more people to the state and generate more taxes," Iger continued. "And so our point on this is that any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took, sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida and I'll, I'll just leave it at that. Thank you very much for your interest."

Listen below or at this link.

READ MORE: 'Full-on nuts': Scathing Orlando Sentinel op-ed says Florida politics have gone from 'quirky' to 'absurd'

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