Disney CEO Bob Iger Slams Ron DeSantis, Calls Him ‘Anti-Business’ and ‘Anti-Florida’

Disney CEO Bob Iger has escalated the ongoing row between the company and Ron DeSantis, who recently won re-election by a record 20-point margin, calling the Florida governor “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”

At the annual shareholder meeting on Monday, Disney CEO Iger responded to investor inquiries regarding the ongoing dispute between the company and Florida legislators.

Iger highlighted that Disney employs over 75,000 individuals in the state as well as generating indirect job opportunities, attracts approximately 50 million visitors to Florida each year, and is also the state’s largest taxpayer.

“A year ago, the company took a position on pending Florida legislation,” Iger said, in reference to an anti-grooming bill. “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.”

“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,” he continued. “In effect, to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me.”

Iger added that Disney plans to invest over $17 billion in the next ten years, which would result in the creation of around 13,000 jobs within the company and further contribute to Florida’s tax revenue.

“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 added. “And I’ll just leave it at that.”

DeSantis’s political feud with Disney has become one of the hallmarks of his governorship. One of his key efforts has been to restrict their special status as an autonomous area, although this recently hit the buffers.

Last week, DeSantis’ newly appointed board of the Reedy Creek district, now named the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, confirmed that the previous Disney-allied board signed a long-term agreement drastically limiting the board’s authority over the company and its district. The agreement was finalized on February 8th, a mere day before the Florida House of Representatives voted to place DeSantis in charge.

Disney, meanwhile, is facing one of its toughest economic environments in decades in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated lockdowns. Last week, Iger confirmed that Disney was in the first three rounds of layoffs that will result in approximately 7,000 job losses. The move is part of a wider strategy to cut costs and restore the company’s financial health by cutting $5.5 billion in spending. Over the course of 2022, Disney’s stock price fell by 22 percent.

“The difficult reality of many colleagues and friends leaving Disney is not something we take lightly. This company is home to the most talented and dedicated employees in the world, and so many of you bring a lifelong passion for Disney to your work here,” Iger wrote in a memo to company employees. That’s part of what makes working at Disney so special. It also makes it all the more difficult to say goodbye to wonderful people we care about.”

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  1. Inger lies so effectively to protect himself and his close circle of Disney Millionaires it is unreal. He thinks he is bigger than he really is. He still has to answer to the Stock Holders and they CAN remove him and his management team at any time. Its time to close the mouse house for a while and let the dust settle.

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