The battle between the Walt Disney Company (and its CEO, Bob Iger) versus Governor Ron DeSantis continued during the Q2 earnings call.
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“It seems like he’s decided to retaliate against us,” Iger had previously said during the Walt Disney Company’s annual shareholders meeting on April 3. He also referred to DeSantis attempting “to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right.”
During the recent earnings call on May 10, Disney CEO Bob Iger again spoke out against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, stating that the company is being punished for free speech.
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Bob Iger’s Recent Comments
“Regarding Florida, I got a few things I want to say about that bill,” CEO Bob Iger said. “First of all, the case that we filed last month made our position and the facts very clear. This is about one thing and one thing only, and that’s retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation. And we believe that in us taking that position we are merely exercising our right to free speech.”
Bob Iger continued during the call.
“I noted that our plans are to invest 17 billion over the next ten years, which is what the state should want us to do. We operate responsibly. We pay our fair share of taxes. We employ thousands of people and, by the way, we pay them substantially above the minimum wage dictated by the state of Florida. We also provide them with great benefits and free education. So I’m going to finish what is obviously kind of a long answer by asking one question: Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, or not?”
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Some have considered the last line a threat by CEO Bob Iger (and the Walt Disney Company) to pull investments from the state and avoid paying taxes. It remains unlikely that such a large corporation with a significant footprint in the state would consider such extreme actions. However, a year or two ago, people would have thought that the Governor of Florida and the CEO of Disney being at war over special districts, lawsuits, and legislation would have been unlikely, too.
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It was also noted that the Disney theme parks have proven to be one of the more successful money makers in the past quarter over revenue generated from Disney+ or in movie theaters.