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Tipsheet

DeSantis Heralds End of Walt Disney World's 'Corporate Kingdom'

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) signed House Bill 9-B into law on Monday, the legislation officially dissolving the self-governing status afforded to Walt Disney World and ending other special privileges while establishing a district controlled by the state government that is "accountable to the people of Florida."

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The law ended Disney's self-government of the county-like Reedy Creek Improvement District and removed exemptions from state building and fire codes as well as regulatory reviews. 

DeSantis also heralded the legislation for providing more transparency, ensuring that Disney pays its fair share of taxes, and ending Disney's preferential treatment compared to other companies doing business in Florida. 

The changes noted by DeSantis include a requirement that Disney to pay its municipal debts, rather than those balances being passed on to Sunshine State taxpayers.

"Allowing a corporation to control its own government is bad policy, especially when the corporation makes decisions that impact an entire region," DeSantis said on Monday. 

In remarks just before he signed the bill, DeSantis said stripping Disney's special status is "the fair thing to do" because it ensures "Disney's gonna be treated like SeaWorld is treated."

"Look at your watch," DeSantis continued just before putting his "John Hancock" on the legislation, "and you'll know at what time the corporate kingdom came to an end."

"There's a new sheriff in town, and accountability will be the order of the day," DeSantis added. 

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In lieu of Disney's form of self-government within the Reedy Creek Investment District, the law DeSantis signed on Monday imposes a state control board comprised of five members appointed by the governor and subject to approval by the state Senate.

Established in 1967, the push to dissolve Disney's self-governance of its special district ramped up after now-former Disney CEO Bob Chapek caved to the woke mob and publicly opposed Florida's parental rights legislation and threatened to bring legal challenges against the law after DeSantis signed it. 

These decisions were made, as Townhall also reported on Monday, despite conversations between Chapek and DeSantis in which the governor advised the Disney CEO to resist caving to the woke mob because they — as usual — would move on to their next target after a short period of mostly-online activist outrage. Chapek, apparently, didn't heed DeSantis' counsel. 

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After losing the fight over the parental rights legislation, Disney continued its attacks on Florida's Republican lawmakers and proceeded to lose its subsequent fight to preserve its self-governing privilege. In the wake of its second loss, Disney's Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Geoff Morrell fell on his sword and exited the company in April after overseeing the losses just three months into the job. 

A few months later in November, Disney's board axed Chapek as CEO and replaced him with predecessor Bob Iger, hoping to right the Disney ship, focus on profitability rather than caving to woke activists, and rebuild the company's public image.

DeSantis' full remarks at the bill signing can be viewed below:

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