DeSantis hammers Disney CEO Bob Iger who regrets fighting Florida: ‘They brought this on themselves’

Governor Ron DeSantis pummeled Disney during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday and had no sympathy for CEO Bob Iger who voiced regret over the company being “dragged” into a fight with Florida concerning the Parental Rights in Education Act.

(Video Credit: Fox News)

“So, one of the companies who was benefiting a lot from the government, the government of the state of Florida, actually, was Disney,” Carlson stated, warming up to the issue.

“You changed that. So, they just switched CEOs because of that, because of what you did. The new CEO is the old CEO, Bob Iger. He has held a town hall for employees. And he said he regretted that Disney had fought with your administration over a bill that you backed that banned teachers from talking to kindergartners about sex,” Carlson continued. “So, then Disney’s response led Florida state legislatures to strip, as you know, of course, because you backed it, Disney of its special status.”

Iger unabashedly groveled in a video clip Carlson played in an apparent attempt to begin to mend fences with DeSantis. That is unlikely to work given what transpired.

“I was sorry to see us dragged into that battle. And I have no idea exactly what its ramifications are in terms of the business itself,” Iger rather disingenuously stated, likely knowing full well what the ramifications will be.

“What I can say is, the state of Florida has been important to us for a long time, and we have been very important to the state of Florida,” he further asserted. “That is something I’m extremely mindful of and will articulate if I get the chance.”

Carlson asked DeSantis how he would respond to Iger on the issue and the governor did not hold back, “We didn’t drag them in, Tucker. They went in on their own, and not only opposed the bill. They threatened to get it repealed.”

“These are parents’ rights, important policies in our state that are very popular. And so they brought this on themselves,” he continued. “All we did was stand up for what’s right. And, yes, they’re a big, powerful company. But you know what? We stand up for our folks. And I don’t care what a Burbank-based California company says about our laws.”

Florida lawmakers created a special economic zone for Disney called the Reedy Creek Improvement District in 1967 that ostensibly saved the company tens of millions of dollars per year. A bill putting an end to the district, which is home to Disney World and other attractions, overwhelmingly passed the state legislature and was signed by DeSantis.

Iger remarked at a town hall event with employees that he intends to advance social causes in a more subdued fashion in the future.

Disney’s board of directors recently reinstated Iger as CEO. He previously served in that position with the company for 15 years until he relinquished control to his successor Bob Chapek who catastrophically butted heads with DeSantis and the state of Florida over sexual orientation and gender identity for students between kindergarten and third grade.

Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo obtained footage of the town hall where Iger stated, “I think that some of the subjects that have proven to be ‘controversial’ as it relates to Disney have been branded political, and I don’t necessarily believe they are. Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not. It can be distracting and can have a negative impact on the company. To the extent that I can work to quiet things down, I’m going to do that.”

“I think it is important to put in perspective what some of these subjects are and not just simply brand them political,” he elaborated.

When he was pointedly asked about the parental rights legislation, Iger affirmed that “LGBTQ employees” at Disney are “very important to us” and claimed that the company would continue promoting “inclusion” in its work. But he referred to a “delicate balance” between telling stories and “listening” to audience members.

“It’s important to have respect for the people that you’re serving, that you’re trying to reach, and not have disdain for them,” he bluntly commented.

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