Walt Disney Co. DIS CEO Bob Iger said Wednesday, the same day the company released its second-quarter earnings, that Florida politicians were retaliating against the company.
What Happened: Iger pointed out at the company’s earnings call that Disney employs more than 75,000 people and attracts millions of visitors to the Sun Shine state through a special district, established half a century ago, to spur the development of central Florida. The company has plans to invest $17 billion in the next 10 years in expanding Walt Disney World.
“We operate responsibly. We pay our fair share of taxes. We employ thousands of people. And by the way, we pay them above the minimum wage, substantially above the minimum wage dictated by the state of Florida.”
Iger asked on the call, “Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people and pay more taxes, or not?”
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Why It Matters: The CEO said “no concerted effort” was made to dismantle Disney’s special district until the company spoke out on a particular legislation.
Iger was referring to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law which forbids teaching classes related to gender equality or sexual orientation to students in kindergarten through third grade.
The top Disney executive pointed out that there were 2,000 special districts that existed in Florida and most were “established to foster investment and development.”
This isn’t the first time Iger has alleged retaliation from Florida, which is led by the Republican Governor Ron DeSantis.
In April, he pointed out that corporations have a right to air their opinions and to “seek to punish a company for the exercise of a constitutional right, that just seems really wrong to me.”
Disney has filed a federal lawsuit against Desantis saying he is carrying out a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against a corporation.
Price Action: On Wednesday, Disney shares fell 4.8% lower at $96.30 in the after-hours trading after closing 1% lower at $101.14 in the regular session, according to Benzinga Pro data.