John Oliver isn’t necessarily upset that Disney will have to pay more taxes, but he’s got a big problem with the reason behind why Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis eliminated the company’s special privileges of self-government.
Last month, DeSantis made the move against Disney, backed by Florida Republicans, as a retaliation for Disney’s opposition to the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law. On Sunday’s Last Week Tonight, Oliver called the Florida governor “a man who has what can only be described as Green Book vibes,” referring to the controversial Oscar-winning film.
The Reedy Creek Improvement District, as it’s called, provides electricity as well as fire and EMS services to Disney.
“Yeah, it’s true, in the part of Central Florida where Disney World is, the company technically functions as a self-contained government providing essential services — except, crucially, a morgue,” Oliver said. “Why? Because no one — look at me — no one has ever died at Disney, and no one will ever at Disney. Do you hear me? There is no fucking morgue at Disney.”
However, the dissolution of the district may have major ripple effects.
“There are plenty of signs that DeSantis didn’t really think this through, with experts pointing out that the law may actually violate the contract clause of Florida Constitution,” Oliver said. “Also Florida State law requires the county assumes the district’s debt when it is dissolved, which could mean that Orange and Osceola counties, where the district is, inherit upward of $1 billion in bond debt. So it is no wonder that there are real concerns about all the potential disruption here. Thankfully, DeSantis had some reassuring words.”
Oliver cut to a clip of DeSantis at a press conference, saying: “We’re gonna take care of all that. Don’t worry … we have everything thought out. Don’t let anyone tell you that somehow Disney‘s going to get a tax cut out of this. They’re going to pay more taxes as a result of it.”
Said Oliver: “There is just nothing more immediately off-putting than someone starting a sentence with ‘Don’t worry.’ It sounds like a frat boy trying to reason with the cops after a noise complaint: ‘Don’t worry, man. We’re gonna take care of all of that. We got everything thought out. You guys want a beer or something? You wanna hang out?’”
Oliver then noted that subsequent statements from the governor’s office are vague on details, “with one spokeswoman admitting the governor’s office does not have a written plan on how the dissolution will proceed, which, of course it doesn’t,” he said. “And look, do I think it’s bad if Disney pays more taxes? No I don’t. That would be a good thing. I don’t love that it might happen not through meaningful tax reform but on the whim of one right-wing dipshit who’s scared of gay people and doesn’t understand the First Amendment. But hey, ends, means, what are you gonna do?”