LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — The Walt Disney Co. announced Thursday that it was scrapping plans to build a new campus in central Florida and relocate 2,000 employees from Southern California to work in digital technology, finance and product development.
The decision follows a year of attacks from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Legislature because the company opposed a state law that bans classroom lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades. Disney filed a First Amendment lawsuit against DeSantis and other officials last month.
Disney had planned to build the campus about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from the giant Walt Disney World theme park resort, but Josh D’Amaro, chairman of the parks, experiences and products division, said in a memo to employees that “new leadership and changing business conditions” prompted the company to abandon those plans.
“I remain optimistic about the direction of our Walt Disney World business,” D’Amaro said. “We have plans to invest $17 billion and create 13,000 jobs over the next ten years. I hope we’re able to do so.”