Disney CEO Bob Iger Criticizes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for “Anti-Business” Actions

Disney CEO Bob Iger has criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for recent actions taken against the company, calling them “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”[0] The feud between the two escalated after Disney opposed DeSantis’ “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity in classrooms for young students.[1] In response, DeSantis signed legislation dissolving independent special districts that gave Disney self-governing status and other privileges, including borrowing money for infrastructure projects by issuing bonds, as well as exemption from a host of regulations and fees related to emergency services and development planning.[2] DeSantis also renamed the district the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and appointed five new board members.[3]

Disney’s recent moves to maintain corporate power over the land housing its popular theme parks have been met with resistance from DeSantis.[4] He ordered an investigation into an agreement that transferred the powers of Disney’s special district back to the company before the state assumed control of the board.[5] However, Disney has stood by its actions, stating that all agreements between the company and the Reedy Creek board were “appropriate” and “discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums in compliance with Florida Government in the Sunshine law.”[5]

Iger has defended Disney’s right to free speech and announced the company’s plans to invest over $17 billion at Walt Disney World over the next 10 years, creating over 13,000 jobs and generating more taxes for Florida.[6] He also expressed his love for the state and its support of Disney over the last 50 years. However, DeSantis has accused Disney of collusive and self-dealing arrangements that defy the will of Floridians and suffer from serious legal infirmities.

The feud between Disney and DeSantis highlights the tension between business interests and government policies. While companies have the right to free speech and investment, governments also have the power to regulate and oversee their operations.[7] As such, it is important for both sides to work together to find mutually beneficial solutions that support the needs of both businesses and communities.

0. “DeSantis tells Disney their war is NOT over and more is ‘coming'” Daily Mail, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11946809/DeSantis-tells-Disney-war-NOT-coming.html

1. “DeSantis’ Reedy Creek board says Disney stripped its power” Orlando Sentinel, 29 Mar. 2023, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-ne-disney-new-reedy-creek-board-powerless-20230329-qalagcs4wjfe3iwkpzjsz2v4qm-story.html

2. “As Disney Outmaneuvers DeSantis, Florida Gov. Calls for Investigation Over Special District” Hollywood Reporter, 3 Apr. 2023, https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/as-disney-outmaneuvers-desantis-florida-gov-calls-for-investigation-over-special-district-1235366353/

3. “4 big questions about Disney and Ron DeSantis answered” Tampa Bay Times, 4 Apr. 2023, https://www.tampabay.com/news/florida-politics/2023/04/04/desantis-disney-iger-reedy-creek-moody-investigation/

4. “DeSantis orders investigation into Disney district’s final act | West Orange Times & Observer” West Orange Times & SouthWest Orange Observer, 6 Apr. 2023, https://www.orangeobserver.com/news/2023/apr/06/desantis-orders-investigation-into-disney-districts-final-act/

5. “DeSantis fires back after Disney strips power from his special district board” WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando, 3 Apr. 2023, https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2023/04/03/desantis-fires-back-after-disney-strips-power-from-his-special-district-board

6. “Disney CEO Bob Iger calls DeSantis’ actions ‘anti-Florida'” News 13 Orlando, 3 Apr. 2023, https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/attractions/2023/04/03/dianey-ceo-bob-iger-calls-desantis-actions-anti-florida-

7. “Disney CEO Bob Iger: ‘Retaliation’ by Florida governor is ‘anti-business,’ ‘anti-Florida'” FOX 35 Orlando, 3 Apr. 2023, https://www.fox35orlando.com/news/disney-ceo-bob-iger-retaliation-by-florida-governor-is-anti-business-anti-florida

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