(San Francisco) Disney Chairman Robert Iger on Monday denounced the end of the company’s special status in Florida, an “anti-trade” measure he said Governor Ron DeSantis took to punish the American giant for having exercised his right to freedom of expression.

Mr. DeSantis in February removed Disney’s special status in his state, ending the benefits the Disney World theme park had enjoyed since the 1960s.

A new episode in the ongoing cultural battles in the United States, provoked by a position taken by the company, which had denounced a bill restricting the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation in Florida elementary schools .

The governor, Donald Trump’s main Republican rival for the White House race in 2024, “seeks to punish a company for the exercise of a constitutional right”, said Mr. Iger during a general meeting of shareholders .

“A company has the right to freedom of expression, just like individuals,” added the Disney boss.

Disney plans to invest more than $17 billion in Disney World over the next decade, create more than 10,000 jobs and attract even more tourists to Florida, Iger said.

“Any action to thwart these efforts simply in revenge for a position taken by the company seems not only anti-trade, but also anti-Florida,” he insisted.

The leader drew a parallel with certain positions taken by American companies in favor of the struggle for civil rights in the United States in the 1960s.

“I will continue to be guided by a sense of decency and respect,” Mr. Iger warned. “And we’ll trust our instincts: when we step in, we will because the issue is truly relevant to our business and to the people who work for us.” »

The boss recalled that Disney tries to convey in its films a belief that “good triumphs over evil”.

A figure of the populist right in the United States, Ron DeSantis has not yet officially declared his presidential ambitions, but is widely seen as Donald Trump’s most serious competitor for the Republican primary.

The governor willingly poses as a defender of “wokism”.

Clearly, the 40-year-old accuses a group of “elite” of imposing their progressive ideology on a society that refuses it, and has pledged to protect it in his state.