Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger on Monday commented on the ongoing dispute between the company and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, calling the governor’s actions “anti-business” and “anti-Florida,” while also announcing plans to invest $17 billion in Disney World over the next 10 years.

What You Need To Know

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger discussed the conflict between Florida Gov. Ron DeSsntis and the Reedy Creek Improvement District during a shareholders meeting Monday

  • Iger called the governor's actions "anti-business" and "anti-Florida"

  • Iger also announced the company's plans to invest $17 billion in Walt Disney World and create 13,000 jobs

  • RELATED: DeSantis accuses Disney of usurping new governing board's power

During the company’s annual shareholder meeting, Iger responded to a question about the situation involving the Reedy Creek Improvement District.

In February, DeSantis signed legislation that would give the state control over Reedy Creek Improvement District — a special taxing district established in 1967 that gave Disney self-governing status and other privileges. The new law included changing the district’s name to Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and giving DeSantis the power to appoint five board members.

The new board members recently revealed that an agreement between Disney and the former district board members left them mostly powerless over the district. On Monday, DeSantis asked the state’s chief inspector general to investigate the last-minute deal made between Disney and the former Reedy Creek board before the state took over the district.

Iger accused DeSantis of retaliating against the company for its opposition to the state’s Parental Rights in Education legislation, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, last year.

“About a year ago, the company took a position on pending Florida legislation,” Iger said during the meeting. “And while the company may not have handled the position it took 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.”

Iger also announced the company’s plans to invest $17 billion in Disney World, which would create an estimated 13,000 new jobs within the company as well as “thousands of indirect jobs.”

He said the investment would attract more people to Florida and generate more taxes. Disney, he noted, is the largest taxpayer in the in state and its parks draw millions of visitors each year.

“Our point on this is that any action that thwarts those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business but it sounds anti-Florida,” Iger said. “And, I’ll just leave it at that.”

Iger didn’t share any other details about the multibillion Disney World investment. However, the shareholder meeting began with a pre-recorded presentation about the new attractions and upcoming projects at its parks around the world, including TRON Lightcycle Run (opening at Magic Kingdom on Tuesday) and the recent opening of the reimagined Mickey’s Toontown at Disneyland.

Iger also didn’t share any updates on the company’s recent layoffs during Monday’s meeting. Last week, the company began cutting a planned 7,000 jobs as part of an effort to cut $5.5 billion in costs.

The shareholder’s meeting was the first one for Iger since his return as CEO in November after replacing an ousted Bob Chapek.


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