DeSantis’ Disney War Costs Florida Jobs, $1 Billion Project

There’s been a new twist in Disney’s ongoing fight with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The battle has lasted for more than a year and now Disney CEO Bob Iger has followed through on a warning he made earlier this spring.

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The war started when Disney took a position opposing legislation backed by DeSantis imposing limits on grade school discussions of sexual preference.

Disney, Florida’s largest private employer, stated its opposition to the bill prompting DeSantis, a likely candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, to fire back hard.

DeSantis moved to take control of a special district covering Disney World and Disney’s other massive real-estate holdings near Orlando. The Reedy Creek Improvement District allowed the company to basically manage much of the day-to-day municipal affairs of the area, including zoning and fire protection. Hundreds of similar districts exist throughout the state, albeit at a smaller scale.

DeSantis pushed through a bill creating a new oversight body made up of his own appointees who were named earlier this year. Disney however, wrote extensive contracts while it still controlled the district the effectively gutted any powers the new agency would have.

DeSantis responded saying, among other things, that he might build a new prison near the property.

Iger Defends Disney

Iger, who returned to the CEO role last fall after the controversy had already begun, defended the company’s actions on a call with shareholders this spring. He noted Disney’s enormous economic contribution to Florida and cautioned that DeSantis was putting billions of dollars of future investments and jobs at risk with his “anti-business” stance.

Now, on a day when word is leaking that DeSantis will indeed file to run for president, Disney has followed through by cancelling a massive $1 billion plan to build a company office project in Florida that also involved relocating 2,000 California employees. The company cited “changing business conditions,” in a memo reported by CNN and other media outlets. 

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