Disney CEO Iger Accuses DeSantis of 'Retaliation'; Suggests Future Investments in Florida at Risk
Florida - Thursday May 11, 2023: During a quarterly conference call with investors Wednesday Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke blunting about the ongoing feud with Governor DeSantis and he suggested that future investments in Florida may be at risk.
“Regarding Florida, I’ve got a few things I want to say…” began Iger on what sounded like a scripted response that went on for over three minutes. The Disney CEO rebutted the Florida Governor’s often repeated reasons for revoking the company’s special district status, but he never mentioned DeSantis by name.
"This is not about special privileges or a level playing field," he said. "This is about one thing, and one thing only, and that is retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation. And we believe that in us taking that position we were merely exercising our right to free speech.”
Iger pointed out that there are about 2-thousand special districts in Florida, said Iger, including the Daytona Speedway and The Villages and “we all know that there was no concerted effort to dismantle what was once called the Reedy Creek special District until we spoke out on the legislation.”
Disney benefited from its special district status, acknowledged Iger, but so has the state he said.
Disney attracts tens of millions of visitors to Florida he said, and employs more than 75-thousand people, and “there’s also a false narrative that we’ve been fighting to protect tax breaks. But in fact, we’re the largest tax payer in central Florida paying over $1.1 billion in state and local taxes last year alone. And we pay more taxes, specifically real estate taxes, as a result of that special district.”
Iger wrapped up his lengthy response by suggesting that the Governor’s ongoing attacks against Disney, might threaten the company’s future investments in Florida.
“So, I’m going to finish by asking one question. Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes, or not?