Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Disney cancels Florida campus project amid dispute with DeSantis

US conglomerate Disney on Thursday scrapped plans to build a new campus for employees in central Florida amid a dispute with the state’s Republican governor Ron DeSantis.

The amusement giant will not proceed with the Lake Nona project due to “significant changes” since the initial announcement, “including a new address and changing business conditions,” according to a memo from parks president Josh D’Amaro, which was reviewed by AFP. agreed.

The project, first announced in July 2021, was expected to move 2,000 jobs from California to Lake Nona, about 30 kilometers east of the massive Disney World complex in Orlando.

The more than $800 million project will include workers in digital technology, finance and product development with average salaries of $120,000 a year, Orlando business groups said at the time of the announcement.

But Disney is caught in an escalating battle over the American right with DeSantis, a rising figurehead who reportedly plans to launch his bid for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination next week.

The core of the fight is Disney’s criticism of a law supported by DeSantis that restricts school lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County, where the resort will be located, said in a statement that Disney’s decision was “unfortunate.”

“However these are the consequences when there is not a collaborative and inclusive work environment between the State of Florida and the business community,” Demings said.

“We will continue to work closely with our valued partners at Disney,” he added.

In February, DeSantis removed Disney’s control of its special autonomous district, allowing the city-sized amusement park to pursue its own zoning and infrastructure projects, free from state regulations.

The governor also floated the idea of ​​building a prison near the park, which is part of a huge tourist destination that employs more than 75,000 people in Florida and seeks to attract some 50 million people a year.

In response, Disney filed a lawsuit against DeSantis, alleging “a campaign of government retaliation” for Disney’s political positions.

Earlier this week, Disney asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought by a DeSantis-aligned oversight board.

Former Republican President Donald Trump has ridiculed the fight between DeSantis and Disney. In a social media post in April, he said the company would stop investing money in Florida, and may also announce a “slow exit”.

The Trump campaign blamed differences between DeSantis and Disney in a statement Thursday for depriving the state of major investments and lucrative jobs.

“Because (DeSantis) was too weak to fight for this state,” the communication praised Trump as a “jobs president.”

DeSantis’ failed war with Disney has done little for his faltering campaign, and is now doing little for Florida’s economy,” he said.

Nation World News Desk
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