Disney CEO Bob Iger held the Walt Disney Company’s quarterly earning call with investors this week, covering a wide range of subjects. Iger announced that Disney+ lost millions of subscribers, Hulu will combine with Disney+ in a new app, and Disney Parks continued to rake in money.
Related: How’s this Going to End? The Possibilities for a Disney/DeSantis Feud Ending.
But the one thing that everyone wanted to know about was the Disney Company’s feud with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Iger said:
I think the case that we filed last month made our position and the facts very clear and that is really what this is about one thing and one thing only, and that is 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.
But that quote was pretty tame compared to what Iger ended with. He, not so subtly, reminded Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature that Disney employs 75,000 Cast Members, attracts millions of tourists to Florida, and is the largest taxpayer in Central Florida, paying $1.1 billion in state and local taxes last year.
But even if all that didn’t scare DeSantis, Iger’s final statement should:
One question: Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes or not?
That one question should scare the hell out of Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature. Earlier this year, Iger announced that Disney plans to spend $17 billion at the Walt Disney World Resort and hire an additional 14,000 Cast Members in the next decade. That was the carrot. What Bob Iger said at the end of his comments was clearly the stick.
Iger reminded Gov. DeSantis that Disney’s investment could quickly go away. It is clear that Ron DeSantis has larger ambitions beyond the Florida Governor’s mansion. Otherwise, why would he be touring the country, stopping in every early primary state?
If Bob Iger were to pull Disney’s investment and future jobs in Florida, it would sink any shot DeSantis had at a higher office. Who would vote for a candidate whose policies just cost his state thousands of jobs and billions in investment?
Gov. DeSantis is fighting his battle with the Walt Disney Company on multiple fronts. Former South Carolina Governor and current Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley has repeatedly attacked DeSantis’ handling of this Disney fight. And former-president Donald Trump attacked DeSantis at a CNN Town Hall. Trump said DeSantis should “relax and take it easy and think about the future because right now his future isn’t looking so good.”
Ron DeSantis has yet to respond to Iger’s comments. But we do know that Disney knows how to craft a narrative, and there’s nothing like a bombshell announcement to shake up an election.
We will continue to update this news at Disney Fanatic.