Disney CEO Asks if DeSantis Wants Disney in Florida

Iger defends his company in earnings call
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2023 5:25 PM CDT
Disney CEO Asks if DeSantis Wants Disney in Florida
Bob Iger arrives at the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Feb. 13, 2023, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif.   (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The comments were made during an earnings call, but the questions posed by Disney boss Bob Iger this week were aimed at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The two have been sparring for more than a year, with words and actions. Against that backdrop, Bob Iger asked during the call if the governor wants the company to stay or go. "Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, or not?" the CEO said, per USA Today. To help that decision along, Iger hinted that Disney's plan to invest $17 billion in Florida over the next decade is subject to change.

The chief executive defended his company's value as a corporate citizen of the state. "We're the largest taxpayer in Central Florida, paying over $1 billion in state and local taxes last year alone," Iger said. "We operate responsibly. We pay our fair share of taxes." Asked on the call how investors should think about the situation, Iger said DeSantis' goal is retaliation; the battle began when the company opposed the state's "Don't Say Gay" legislation. Disney's new lawsuit against the governor says the same thing. "This is about one thing and one thing only, and that's retaliating against us for taking a position about pending legislation," Iger told the investors. (More Disney World stories.)

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