Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took a victory lap in his war against Disney on Wednesday, announcing “there’s a new sheriff in town” and vowing that the media giant will “pay its debt.”
“Disney’s going to pay its debt,” DeSantis told members of the press as the state’s House Bill 9B, which aims to give the governor the ability to rename the Reedy Creek Improvement District to Central Florida Tourism Oversight District and appoint the board’s five members passed its first committee on Wednesday with bipartisan support.
“What I said really for the last six/nine months is: Disney is no longer going to have self-government,” DeSantis said. “They’re not going to have their own government. Disney is gonna pay their fair share of taxes and honor their debts. And that’s exactly what this proposed piece of legislation will do.”
On Reedy Creek legislation:
"A lot of folks in the media were saying, 'oh my gosh, Disney's actually going to pay less in taxes and Floridians are going to pay more taxes'… Well this puts that to bed."
"There's a new sheriff in town." –@GovRonDeSantis pic.twitter.com/mdoGmirTln
— Bryan Griffin (@BryanDGriffin) February 9, 2023
“A lot of folks in the media were saying that, ‘Oh my gosh, Disney’s actually going to pay less taxes and Floridians are going to pay more taxes.’ They were saying that. And I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me,” he continued. “Well, this puts that to bed and so those debts will be honored.”
“This is now obviously going to be controlled by the state of Florida,” DeSantis stated. “There’s a new sheriff in town.”
As BizPac Review has reported, the very public war between DeSantis and Disney was sparked by the Magic Kingdom’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law — disingenuously dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. The governor has stood strong against woke ideology, and Disney’s insistence on doubling down on it led him to revisit a 1967 decision by the state to allow Walt Disney World’s Reedy Creek in Orlando to act as a self-governing tax district.
DeSantis exposes insane Disney deal as he prepares to yank the keys from the kingdom https://t.co/E8VaJTLXDP pic.twitter.com/RyHhcPYRLE
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) February 7, 2023
In a statement earlier this week, DeSantis’s deputy press secretary, Jeremy Redfern, said, “Florida is dissolving the Corporate Kingdom and beginning a new ear of accountability and transparency. These actions ensure a state-controlled district accountable to the people instead of a corporate-controlled kingdom.”
On Twitter, Redfern wrote, “The Corporate Kingdom is over.”
“The legislation imposes a state-controlled board with members appointed by the governor on Disney and its property,” he explained. “Just how insane was the original deal? Disney could acquire property beyond the District’s territory via eminent domain.”
The Corporate Kingdom is over. The legislation imposes a state-controlled board with members appointed by the governor on Disney and its property.
Just how insane was the original deal? Disney could acquire property beyond the District's territory via eminent domain.
The facts: https://t.co/ePVOn8jdcw pic.twitter.com/5VQjvq6L07
— Jeremy Redfern (@JeremyRedfernFL) February 6, 2023
But some argue that the proposed plan for Reedy Creek doesn’t go far enough.
This district will get a new name, but it will remain intact, the Tampa Bay Times reports, so “the new improvement district will still have the same tax benefits it had before, such as the ability to issue tax-exempt bonds and other measures that have saved the company millions of dollars.”
“Disney still maintains the same perks they did before,” state Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), said Wednesday, according to the outlet.
She likened the new arrangement to putting Disney in a low-security prison, “where they can pretty much do what they want to do, but if they go off course, they’ll be punished.”
Meanwhile, after ousting Bob Chapek and reclaiming his role as Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger has announced that the company will be laying off 7,000 employees and restructuring how things are done at the Happiest Place on Earth in an attempt to make its leaders “accountable” for the content they produce.
“Our new structure is aimed at returning greater authority to our creative leaders and making them accountable for how their content performs financially,” Iger said on Disney’s earnings call, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Our former structure severed that link and must be restored. Moving forward, our creative teams will determine what content we’re making, how it is distributed and monetized, and how it gets marketed.
The 7,000 soon-to-be-former employees represent just over 3 percent of the company’s global workforce, and the cuts will likely slice the deepest in the entertainment and ESPN divisions.
“Disney CFO Christine McCarthy also said that the company is targeting $5.5 billion in cost savings, including $3 billion related to future content savings, with the remaining $2.5 billion from other costs like marketing, staffing or technology,” explains The Hollywood Reporter.
The move follows calls to boycott the company’s streaming service, Disney+, over an episode of its cartoon “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder” in which the characters call for reparations, claiming, “This country was built on slavery, which means slaves built this country.”
According to the popular Twitter account End Wokeness, the cartoon is nothing but, “Blatant anti-white propaganda.”
This is a scene from a Disney+ kids cartoon called The Proud Family
Blatant anti-white propaganda pic.twitter.com/3mJT7jbvEr
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) February 5, 2023
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