Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sat down with CNBC earlier this week (August 14) and discussed various issues…including Disney.
The State of Things
Governor DeSantis and the State of Florida have been battling the Walt Disney Company for over a year. However, neither Disney nor Governor Ron DeSantis have really been “winning.” As Florida Governor DeSantis campaigns for the Republican nomination, he has been criticized by political opponents on the left (Joe Biden) and right (Donald Trump) over his administration’s feud with the Walt Disney Company.
Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Iger has just conducted another earnings call, where he struggled to put a positive spin on the company having unsuccessful box office flops, Disney Plus subscriber losses, and a stock price that has not recovered since the company waged into the culture wars (and the beginning of the Governor DeSantis battle).
In the CNBC interview, Gov DeSantis points out that he helped the Walt Disney Company by allowing the Walt Disney World Resort to remain open during the pandemic. He further said that Disney will lose their case against the State of Florida and they should just “drop the lawsuit.” He also claimed that he and the State of Florida have moved on from the skirmish and are okay with putting it behind them – but he does not believe Disney should get any special privileges.
In a new interview, DeSantis claims he and the state Florida has “moved on” from its dispute with Disney. He also asked Iger and Disney to drop its lawsuit against the state.
DeSantis: “No one has made more money for Disney recently than me…”
— Scott Gustin (@ScottGustin) August 14, 2023
The latter part of his comment refers to the Reedy Creek Improvement District that allowed Walt Disney Parks to run its own mini-government in Florida – something Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and other theme Park resorts in Central Florida don’t have and never had (despite their best efforts).
What Happens Next?
Although this interview is being depicted as an olive-branch moment by Governor Ron DeSantis, he chose his words very carefully. He also doesn’t agree to “call up Bob Iger” when the interviewer brings up the idea (after trying to blame former Disney CEO Bob Chapek). It’s difficult to know where this conversation goes from here – or if Governor Ron DeSantis is simply engaging in politics for his campaign’s sake. Time will tell…