Bob Iger could be prioritizing a matter that's close to home in his CEO return to The Walt Disney Company, replacing the departed Bob Chapek (who also succeeded Iger).
In a recent town hall video with employees, which was first shared by journalist Christopher Rufo, Iger discussed the need for eliminating company controversies and feuds from the past.
And Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis might be on top of that to-do list.
"Do I like the company being embroiled in controversy? Of course not. It can be distracting, and it can have a negative impact on the company," said Iger. "And to the extent that I can work to kind of quiet things down, I'm going to do that."
Later in the town hall event, Iger offered a cautious response to the audience, when pressed on Florida's Parental Rights in Education legislation — which expressly "forbids instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade."
Iger said of that law: "We're certainly not going to lessen our core values to make everybody happy all the time."
The Parental Rights in Education law also requires public school educators through high school not to address sexual orientation or gender identity in a manner that is not "age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate" for their students.
The DeSantis-Disney squabble included the following timeline, predating Iger's second arrival:
In March, after Disney came out publicly against the Parental Rights in Education legislation, the company also reportedly threatened to suspend political donations in the state.
The DeSantis camp returned fire by writing in a fundraising pitch: "Disney and other woke corporations won't get away with peddling their unchecked pressure campaigns any longer. If we want to keep the Democrat machine and their corporate lapdogs accountable, we have to stand together now."'
In April, the Florida House of Representatives passed a bill to dissolve Walt Disney World's private government. The measure allowed for the districts to be reestablished, potentially leaving things open for a future renegotiation.
Then in May, DeSantis hinted the state might take over Disney's self-governing Reedy Creek Improvement District, instead of ceding control of the area to other local governments.
"Even though there are ways you could potentially have local communities absorb jurisdiction over Disney, after seeing them threatening to raise taxes on their citizens, we are not going to be in a situation where we're just going to be giving them local control — more likely that the state will simply assume control and make sure that we're able to impose the law and make sure we're collecting the taxes," DeSantis said of the proposal.
DeSantis also said Reedy Creek's reported debt of $766 million "will not end up going to any of these local governments."
Instead, "it's going to absolutely be dealt with [from] the taxpayers who are currently in that district," added DeSantis.
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