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The Billionaire Has Left the Building. DeSantis Loses Major Donor Over Disney Feud

DeSantis loses major donor over Disney feud
Credit: Gage Skimore Flickr

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ fledgling presidential campaign took another hit on Monday as billionaire Ken Griffin decided he would not financially support DeSantis moving forward. Griffin specifically points to DeSantis’ feud with the Walt Disney Company as his reason for backing off, calling the fight “pointless.”

Mickey Mouse and Ron DeSantis

Credit: Disney/ Gage Skidmore Flickr

In 2022, Griffin gave Governor Desantis $5 million for his re-election campaign. With Griffin on the sideline, DeSantis has lost most of his billionaire donors from his successful re-election campaign. In July, the founder of Triad Partners, Nelson Peltz, also announced that he would not support the governor. He also cited DeSantis’ feud with Disney as his reason for cooling on the governor. Peltz also gave DeSantis $5 million for his latest run for governor.

Griffin, Citadel’s CEO, said he doesn’t understand Florida Gov Ron DeSantis’ campaign. A new poll from Quinnipiac shows DeSantis trailing former president Donald Trump by 50 points. DeSantis is polling second to Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire but dropped to third place in South Carolina behind former governor Nikki Haley.

Nikki Hayley

Credit: Associated Press

Griffin cited DeSantis’ feud with Disney as one of the reasons that he’s backing off. He told CNBC:

The ongoing battle with Disney, I think is pointless. It doesn’t reflect well on the ethos of Florida. 

This fight began nearly 20 months ago when former Disney CEO Bob Chapek spoke out against Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, known by its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature responded by stripping Disney of its Reedy Creek Improvement District and replacing it with the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, filled with DeSantis appointees.

DeSantis has run on an “anti-woke” message that doesn’t resonate with voters. Since Governor DeSantis’ X (formerly Twitter) campaign launch, there have been several issues, especially with his personality and likability.

DeSantis, Iger, and Disney World

Credit: Disney, Flickr, Gage Skidmore

Griffin said he’s disillusioned with the entire slate of presidential candidates from both sides of the aisle. He said:

I’m still on the sidelines as to who to support in this election cycle. Look, if I had my dream, we’d have a great Republican candidate in the primary who was younger, of a different generation, with a different tone for America. And we’d have a younger person on the Democratic side in the primary, who would have his message for our country. We’d have a debate around ideas and principles and policies to make this a great nation. We’re not having that dialogue right now.

The DeSantis campaign did not comment on the loss of another donor. The Disney Company and Gov DeSantis are involved in dueling lawsuits that have hurt both parties. While DeSantis struggles to find his footing with Republican primary voters, the Walt Disney Company has struggled at all levels.

News recently broke that Disney was considering selling its over-the-air cable division, including ABC, FX, ABC News, and National Geographic. Disney has also struggled at the box office and with park attendance.

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: glennia, Flickr

Disney CEO Bob Iger / Credit: glennia, Flickr

Perhaps when DeSantis’ presidential bid is over, the two sides can come to a mutually beneficial agreement, but with that much animosity, that doesn’t seem likely.

We will continue to update this story at Disney Fanatic.

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

One comment

  1. Y’all don’t know what “ resonates well with the voters“ just look at your last years earnings
    No one wants to go to a Family based entertainment park that’s full of homosexuals foreigners and freaks!!

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