The reason Disney canceled constructing a $1 billion office complex in Orlando has little to do with Governor Ron DeSantis’ battle against the company’s woke priorities, Daily Wire editor emeritus Ben Shapiro said on his show Friday.
Disney actually scuttled the project because of economic blows it has taken unrelated to the state of Florida revoking special tax privileges from its Walt Disney World campus. In addition, the new office space planned for Florida received a wave of pushback internally from employees who did not want to relocate to the Sunshine State, according to Shapiro.
“Disney is spinning the fact that they are in a state of economic free-fall as a woke corporate stand,” Shapiro said.
In an email to Disney employees on Thursday, Disney Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro said the company was canceling the $1 billion proposed investment in Florida. The cancelation came after CEO Bob Iger in an earnings call last week upped his attacks on DeSantis for cracking down on the company for pushing the state to embrace transgender ideology.
“We have a huge opportunity to continue to invest in Florida. I noted that our plans were to invest $17 billion over the next 10 years, which is what the state should want us to do. We operate responsibly. We pay our fair share of taxes. We employ thousands of people there,” Iger said.
“Does the state want us to invest more, employ more people, and pay more taxes or not?” he asked.
Shapiro said that Iger and Disney are trying to hide the real reasons the business is faltering by placing the blame on DeSantis.
“Basically, what happened here is that Disney does not have the money or the wherewithal right now to build a $1 billion project in Orlando. How do we know this? Because it is perfectly obvious to everyone,” Shapiro said.
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The Daily Wire host pointed out that Disney’s streaming service has declined recently. The platform has lost around 4 million subscribers so far this year and had to cut thousands of jobs in cost-cutting measures. In addition, the office complex had been delayed for years since it was announced in 2021, and it was expected to be delayed years longer.
Iger was also not a fan of the project. He believed that building the office space and moving Disney’s Imagineering workforce, which works with Disney’s movie studios to develop theme park rides and attractions, to Florida when the movie studios are located in California made little sense, according to The New York Times. The original proposal to move Imagineering to Florida was made under former Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
“This notion that this is something new, like it’s brand new that they’re deciding to do kill the project, that is not true,” Shapiro said.
“Disney is doing this because they are losing money. Disney has a problem,” Shapiro said, pointing out that the company’s stock price has cratered and lost about half its value since hitting a high in early 2021.
“Do you think that this was Bob Iger looking at the fact that they have been bleeding money and saying, ‘We’re not spending $1 billion on a campus that just moved some employees from one state to another?’ Do you think it’s that? The bleeding of money?” Shapiro asked. “Or do you think that he was just that invested in making sure that third graders could read Gender Queer at the library? Which one do you think it is?”
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids’ entertainment content.)