Disney stock tumbles amid Florida bill controversy

Florida lawmakers vote to end Disney’s tax privilege

‘Kennedy’ panel weighs in as Florida Gov. DeSantis ramps up battle against Disney. 

Disney is poised to rank among the worst-performing stocks in 2022 after the company became embroiled in a high-profile political controversy.

The stock reached an all-time high in March 2021, trading at nearly $200 per share. But it has been in free fall ever since. As the market closed Thursday, the stock was hovering near $120 per share – down roughly 33% from a year ago. 

The newly painted Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World is seen with the crest to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the theme park Aug. 30, 2021, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File / AP Newsroom)

The company has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after it publicly opposed a bill Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed that prohibits classroom instruction on "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" with children in third grade or younger "or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards." 

NIKKI FRIED CALLS RON DESANTIS A ‘DICTATOR’ OVER DISNEY FIGHT; GOVERNOR SAYS BILLS NOT ‘RETALIATORY’ 

The Florida House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would dissolve Walt Disney’s special governing power in the state, a move that could have huge tax implications for Disney, one of the state’s largest private employers with more than 60,000 workers. The bill now heads to DeSantis’ desk.   

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference at Buc-eeís travel center, where he announced his proposal of more than $1 billion in gas tax relief for Floridians in response to rising gas prices caused by inflation.  (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Disney CEO Bob Chapek, 61, was roundly criticized for how he handled the bill. LGBT advocates said he was slow to speak out, with some walking off the job in protest. Others called on Chapek to take back his "antagonistic" comments against the bill and to stop "cowering to a small political minority."

TIME FOR DISNEY AND CORPORATE AMERICA TO STAY OUT OF CULTURE WARS

Chapek’s handling of past conflicts has also seen its share of criticism, per The New York Post. He is also reported to have a strained relationship with the company’s former CEO Bob Iger. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek speaks during a ceremony at Hong Kong Disneyland. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File / AP Newsroom)

Disney is also bogged down by investors' diminishing enthusiasm for streaming services as inflation eats into America’s pocketbooks. Netflix shares, in particular, dropped 35% this week on the news that the streaming platform had lost 200,000 subscribers. 

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FOX Business has reached out to Disney for comment and will update this story accordingly. 

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