Addressing the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) situation in Florida during today’s shareholders’ meeting, The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger said the company was exercising their right to free speech and Governor DeSantis is now retaliating against them.
Iger Accuses DeSantis of Punishing Disney for Free Speech
Iger said, “We love the state of Florida,” citing the company’s various investments in the community over the years and saying he respected and appreciated what the state has done for Disney in the past. He referenced former-CEO Bob Chapek denouncing the Parental Rights in Education bill, a.k.a. the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, last year and said that though the position was not handled well, the company still has a right to free speech.
He directly accused Governor DeSantis of retaliating against Disney and punishing them for exercising a constitutional right. DeSantis has been outspoken against Disney ever since they condemned the bill and has since taken over Reedy Creek with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District board.
Iger cited the 75,000 employees they have in Florida and 50 million visitors they have brought in this year alone, including 8 million internationally. He pointed out that Disney is the largest taxpayer in the state and they are currently planning on investing $17 billion in Walt Disney World over the next 10 years. They are planning on creating 13,000 new jobs and thousands of indirect jobs, as well as attracting more tourists. He said, “Any action that thwarts these efforts simply to retaliate is anti-business and anti-Florida.”
DeSantis has ordered a criminal investigation into Disney for last-minute Reedy Creek agreements.