Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues his political war against the Disney Corporation—threatening potentially harsher restrictions and state oversight.
- Governor DeSantis announced on Monday that the state would be enacting new measures and overturning special state agreements for Disney World, removing control over the corporation’s special district status for its 27,520-acre theme park.
- DeSantis also casually suggested that the state should open another state prison on government land adjacent to the theme park.
- The governor promises that “come hell or high water, we’re going to make sure that policy of Florida carries the day.”
- Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis joined a Tuesday episode of Fox & Friends to warn Disney not to “pick a fight” with the state going forward.
Why It’s Important
Governor DeSantis has continued to push legislation against the Disney Corporation for over a year in the aftermath of claims that the company was pushing heavy LGBTQ+ propaganda in children’s programming, following the governor signing the HB 1557 bill that gives parents greater power over children’s education and limits how much teachers can discuss sexual identity with children.
The battle is a delicate one for DeSantis. Disney World is the state’s largest employer with 77,000 people, and the park represents one of the largest international tourism attractions in the U.S. Unfortunately for Disney, the park’s enormous size and expensive real estate also leave Disney with no options to pack up and leave the state. Both sides of the debate are reliant on the park’s continued success, but that still leaves latitude for DeSantis to bully the corporation and impose millions of dollars in problems for the company.
“Disney’s sloppy and futile attempt to subvert the will of the Legislature and Floridians was uncovered by our state oversight board, and their 11th-hour agreements will be nullified by the Legislature. Disney’s corporate kingdom is over,” tweeted DeSantis.
The push against Disney and perceived “woke” agendas in the academy, entertainment, and business worlds has made the governor one of the most popular Republican politicians and a prospective frontrunner in the 2024 presidential election.
DeSantis has received heavy pushback from the Disney Corporation, Florida Democrats, National Democrats, and even fellow Republicans. Disney notes that the Sunshine Law that gave it special district status were mutually agreed upon contracts made publicly and in full compliance with the state’s laws. Disney CEO Bob Iger went as far as to declare the governor’s statement “anti-business and anti-Florida.”
On his TruthSocial account, Former President Donald Trump criticized DeSantis, calling the feud a political stunt. “DeSanctus is being absolutely destroyed by Disney. His original P.R. plan fizzled, so now he’s going back with a new one in order to save face.” Former Vice President Mike Pence and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie similarly criticized DeSantis’s policies. “I do not think Ron DeSantis is a conservative,” says Christie. “As a conservative, the job of the government is … to stay out of the business of business.”
DeSantis’s attacks have drawn unanimous criticism from Democrats, who argue that the governor’s political stunts and galavanting are coming at the cost of the state, with the Fort Lauderdale area currently facing massive flooding issues while the governor is out of state. An editorial from The Palm Beach Post argues that the governor is embarrassing the state by creating controversies and prioritizing anti-LGBTQ+ policies over climate change and education.
“Ron DeSantis just threatened to build a state prison next to Disney World. All because they don’t hate gay people,” tweeted Florida Democrat Nikki Fried. “The whole country is laughing at you.”