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Dispute with DeSantis: Disney cancels Florida expansion

Dispute with DeSantis: Disney cancels Florida expansion

In light of “significant changes” including “changing business conditions,” the Orlando area project has been abandoned, Disney Theme Parks CEO Josh D’Amaro said in a note to employees Thursday. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but I think it was the right one,” D’Amaro said.

Disney actually wanted to build a new campus in the Lake Nona area of ​​Orlando not far from the $1 billion Disney World theme park. This is where 2,000 employees from the state of California, where Disney is headquartered, should be sent to live and work. The project was not without controversy, in part because some employees did not want to move from California to Florida.

Change at the top of the range

D’Amaro has now declared the end of the project. In addition to “changing business conditions,” he also referred to the change in the entertainment giant’s top segment. In November, longtime Disney chairman Bob Iger returned to the company helm, replacing his successor, Bob Chapek.

Reuters/Octavio Jones

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The campus project’s cancellation comes amid a heated argument with Governor DeSantis over a Florida law that has been criticized as anti-gay. The ultra-conservative politician and would-be presidential candidate passed a law last year banning the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity in the first three years of school.

Critics refer to the law, which has since been extended to all degrees, as the “Don’t Say Like Me” law.

Claim and counterclaim

Then-Disney chief Chapek also criticized the law last year, halting all political donations to his Florida company. DeSantis reacted angrily and the Florida legislature passed a law severely restricting Disney World’s home rule status. In the dispute, Disney went to court in April, suing DeSantis. A committee recruited and occupied by DeSantis, in turn, sued Disney.

The Republican governor is taking a sharp right-wing course in Florida and attacking, among other things, a “wake-up” left-wing ideology among Democrats, establishment, and corporations. Observers expect the 44-year-old to announce his entry into the presidential race next week.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis

AP/Charlie Neibergal

DeSantis is likely to run against Trump

DeSantis is the most promising internal rival to former President Donald Trump in the race for the Republican presidential nomination for the 2024 election. But in opinion polls, Trump has a wide lead over DeSantis.

Disney World employs 75,000 people and attracts 50 million visitors annually. The amusement park is one of the largest employers and taxpayers in Florida. The fact that DeSantis so fiercely attacked Disney also caused Republicans to gasp.

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