Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is set to cut Disney off from historic taxpayer benefits, leaving the company worth billions on the same footing as every other business in the state.
A plan was announced Friday for Florida to end Disney’s special self-governing district and saddle the troubled corporation with the roughly $700 million to $1 billion in debt the district has accrued since 1967.
This comes a year after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law abolishing the Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) as well as other special corporate-governed districts, set to take effect in June 2023.
They also said the driving reason behind the plan is that the Governor’s team was worried that local Democrat-run governments would cave to corporate pressure and transfer Disney’s outstanding debt to Florida taxpayers – an outcome that DeSantis repeatedly promised would never happen.
DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, told Fox News:
The corporate kingdom has come to an end. Under the proposed legislation, Disney will no longer control its own government, will live under the same laws as everyone else, will be responsible for their outstanding debts, and will pay their fair share of taxes. Imposing a state-controlled board will also ensure that Orange County cannot use this issue as a pretext to raise taxes on Orange County residents.
The Florida governor’s campaign against Disney began last year when he threatened to curtail the company’s privileges due to its woke political messages.
JUST IN: Gov. DeSantis' office announces plan for state-controlled board to take over Disney's "special district", ensuring the corporation can no longer control its own government and is treated the same as other companies.
Statement from Communications Director Taryn Fenske: pic.twitter.com/P4GElrWvli
— DeSantis War Room 🐊 (@DeSantisWarRoom) January 6, 2023
Disney has received nationwide backlash from conservatives since March 2022, when then-CEO Bob Capek announced the company’s public opposition to Florida’s Florida Parental Rights in Education Act and a contemporaneous corporate donation of $5 million to “pro-LGBTQ+” organizations. The law – which Democrats labeled the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – prohibits teaching about sex, gender and sexuality to children in elementary schools and prevents public schools from preventing access by parents to their own children’s school records, including health records.
Later that month, leaked video exposed a Disney executive saying that her team has a “not-at-all-secret gay agenda” which is regularly “adding queerness” to Disney content aimed at children. Disney also came under fire from school advocacy group Parents Defending Education for using drag queens to fund “LGBTQ+ curriculum”, according to a report by Bounding Into Comics.
SCOOP: I've obtained video from inside Disney's all-hands meeting about the Florida parental rights bill, in which executive producer Latoya Raveneau says her team has implemented a "not-at-all-secret gay agenda" and is regularly "adding queerness" to children's programming. pic.twitter.com/eJnZMpKIXT
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) March 29, 2022
Capek’s move was a surrender to Disney corporate employees threatening walk-outs and protests if he did not voice opposition to the bill. Since then, Disney has lost $120 billion in market value.
However, if anyone at Disney has regrets about publicly supporting the right of leftist educators to talk to pre-pubescent children about sex, they certainly aren’t saying so. During an internal Q&A with Disney employees in November, returned CEO Bob Iger promised to double-down on identity politics, while indicating that he would try to strike a “delicate balance” in messaging to avoid further angering customers.
EXCLUSIVE: I have obtained video from returning Disney CEO Bob Iger's first town hall with employees, in which he signals that he will work to "quiet things down" politically and move toward neutrality in the culture war.https://t.co/ZBGdHhxFVS pic.twitter.com/ZbMCZN4MlG
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) November 29, 2022
On the same day the plan for Reedy Creek was announced, DeSantis also announced that he would be appointing writer Chris Rufo, who was at the forefront of reporting on Disney’s scandals as well as on the implementation of CRT, DEI and radical gender theory nationwide, to the Board of Trustees of the New College of Florida.