Disney has postponed the move of thousands of employees to Florida as the entertainment giant is embroiled in a spat with Governor Ron DeSantis over the state’s parental rights law which has been disingenuously portrayed as being discriminatory against gays.
Last summer the company said that it would be moving some 2,000 staffers to its new campus in the Lake Nona area of Orlando. Included among those to be relocated were “Imagineer” theme park and ride designers but the move, which was expected to take 18 months, has been pushed into 2026 by the company which said the delay was unrelated to Disney’s feud with DeSantis.
The company would have reportedly received a $570 million state tax break for the construction of the Lake Nona campus, which would be among the largest in state history for a single corporation,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
WDW News Today, an outlet that covers the company’s theme parks, was the first to report the news.
“This announcement came at an all-hands-on-deck meeting today. Some employees were already searching for homes and are understandably upset about the delay because they had already sold their California homes,” the outlet reported. “Other Imagineers were upset by the relocation plan already, and some chose not to stay with the company. Many have urged Disney to reverse the decision to move, especially considering Florida Governor Ron Desantis’ recent attacks on the company and the passing of the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Disney was at the forefront of “woke” corporate resistance to HB 1557: Parental Rights in Education, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law that banned the teaching of sexual concepts including gender identity to children from kindergarten through third grade, a bill that infuriated groomers and their enablers who were hoping that the California-based company would be able to leverage its economic clout in the Sunshine State to overrule the will of the people through their elected officials.
After DeSantis signed the bill, Disney issued a statement vowing to have the law repealed, either by the legislature or in the courts, but quickly discovered that they had picked a fight with the wrong Republican governor.
Statement from The Walt Disney Company on signing of Florida legislation: pic.twitter.com/UVI7Ko3aKS
— Walt Disney Company (@WaltDisneyCo) March 28, 2022
In response to Disney’s threats, Florida lawmakers quickly crafted legislation to end the special tax privilege that was enjoyed by the groomer-friendly corporate colossus by eliminating the Reedy Creek Improvement District that was created in 1967 when the state was trying to lure the company to Orlando.
DeSantis quickly signed the bill, sending a message to other corporations that don’t stay in their lane.
WATCH: Gov. Ron DeSantis signs law to strip Disney of special self-governing status, dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District pic.twitter.com/T6yldSYorM
— Florida’s Voice (@FLVoiceNews) April 22, 2022
Despite the company’s insistence that putting off the relocations had nothing to do with DeSantis, some believe that isn’t the case.
“The delay moving WDI from California to Florida (which I expect to be canceled ‘for reason’) appears to be TWDC sticking it to Governor DeSantos of Florida. Also result of Californians stating they won’t move to Florida,” wrote a former Disney employee.
The delay moving WDI from California to Florida (which I expect to be canceled ‘for reason’) appears to be TWDC sticking it to Governor DeSantos of Florida. Also result of Californians stating they won’t move to Florida. #LakeNona #DeSantos #TWDC
— Jim Shull (@JimShull) June 15, 2022
Florida agriculture commissioner and former weed lobbyist Nikki Fried, who is looking to topple DeSantis as governor this year, pounced on the report of the delayed relocations.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) June 15, 2022
In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, DeSantis discussed the political left’s reliance on Disney as a proxy.
“Tucker, they’re not gonna win elections in Florida if they’re actually running on injecting transgender ideology into second-grade classrooms. They know,” he said. “So their hope was getting Disney involved in that would somehow get me to back down from signing the bill. Well, that was a bad judgment on their part because of course we weren’t going to back down an inch.”
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