Disney’s reputation has plummeted since the polarizing year-long feud with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis began, according to a poll published on Tuesday.
The DeSantis-Disney feud over the company’s self-governing privileges began last year after the corporation accused the governor’s Parental Rights in Education bill of not being inclusive enough of the LBGTQ community. Disney’s reputation fell 12 spots since 2022 when the entanglement with DeSantis first started, landing the corporation in 77th place, according to an Axios-Harris Poll.
Disney was also ranked the fifth most polarizing company out of 100 in the 2023 poll, determined by the difference between assessments of Republican and Democratic respondents where they scored companies based on criteria such as character, trust, culture and more.
The corporation’s score rose roughly 8 points among Democrats and dropped 14 points among Republicans from a similar poll conducted last year, according to Axios. Disney’s ranking has steadily declined since 2017, but didn’t become polarized until this year’s assessment, according to Axios.
DeSantis signed legislation in late February to revoke Disney of their self-governing privileges, dissolving the Reedy Creek Improvement District that oversaw the corporation’s special tax district. The governor created his own state control board to assume authority over the district, requiring Disney to abide by the same rules and regulations as the rest of Florida’s businesses.
Disney anticipated DeSantis’ signing of the bill, and made last-minute agreements with Reedy Creek to thwart the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board, requiring them to go through Disney’s executives before making any changes; this returned the district’s developmental rights to the corporation.
The governor signed legislation on May 5 to nullify those eleventh-hour agreements, as they were made within the three-month window that the state control board was enacted.
“That’s not going to fly,” DeSantis said in a press conference when he announced the legislation. “We want to make sure that Disney lives under the same laws as everybody else.”
The corporation sued DeSantis in late April for launching a “targeted campaign of government retaliation,” and DeSantis’ state control board approved a lawsuit filed by the DeSantis administration on May 1 in response.
“Disney sued us, we have no choice now but to respond,” said Martin Garcia, chair of the state control board. “The district will seek justice in state court here in central Florida where both it and Disney reside and do business.”
Neither Disney nor DeSantis immediately responded to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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