Disney Chief Calls Governor Ron DeSantis Anti-Business, Is The Mouse House Going To War With Florida?

Disney CEO Bob Iger says that Florida governor Ron DeSantis is "anti-business" and "anti-Florida" for infringing on Disney's first amendment rights.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Updated

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Everyone thought the battle between Disney and Florida was over when Ron DeSantis seemingly won and took control of Disney’s Reedy Creek. As it turns out, that was just one battle, and the feud between Disney and DeSatis is now a war. Now, Disney CEO Bob Iger is calling DeSantis out, saying that the Florida governor is “anti-business and anti-Florida,” as reported by the Guardian.

Iger has chosen not to let DeSantis win the war between Florida and Disney and has called the Florida governor out for going against Disney’s constitutional rights by retaliating against Disney not supporting the governor’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Disney is Florida’s largest employer, with 75,000 employees, and one of Florida’s longest-running companies, having been in business since Disney World opened in 1971. Up until recently, Disney was on excellent terms with the Florida government, even being allowed to self-govern on theme park property. However, trouble began to brew in paradise the moment that DeSantis started promoting his “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

The bill, which was clearly anti-LGBTQ+ in nature, aimed to cut off discussion of gender identity and sexuality in classrooms, inevitably leading to the lack of trusted resources for young members of the LGBTQ+ community and the development of an uneducated generation of students. While Disney kept quiet about the bill at first, after mounting pressure from fans, employees, and even executives like ex-Marvel executive and member of the LGBTQ+ community, Victoria Alonso, the House of Mouse spoke out against the bill, effectively making the entertainment conglomerate the enemy of Florida governor, DeSantis.

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After a long and drawn-out legal battle, DeSantis finally won against Disney, winning the right to overturn Walt Disney World’s oversight board and reinstate it with his own people in charge. DeSantis chose five appointees, which unsurprisingly included three campaign donors, a founder of the Moms for Liberty group that backed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, and a Christian ministry man who is known for spouting homophobic lies. However, in a sneaky move by Disney that DeSantis didn’t catch until the paperwork was signed, the Florida governor’s new board members effectively don’t have the power that DeSantis believed they would be gaining.

While DeSantis has caught on to that detail now and is trying to figure out how to legally retaliate, Iger is hitting the Florida governor with another punch, this time calling him out as anti-business and anti-Florida. Iger’s reasoning is that by retaliating against Disney when the company exercised its constitutional rights of free speech, DeSantis is clearly showing that he is against American businesses. Additionally, because Disney is preparing to do construction on its park and would be creating 13,000 new Florida-based jobs, and DeSantis is trying to stop that, the governor is effectively against Florida and its people as well. 

DeSantis has shown that he is not backing down any time soon, and Iger’s recent statement against the Florida governor shows that Disney isn’t ready to put down its boxing gloves either. So it looks like this is a war that is going to last a while, and only time will tell which side will end up on top.