Watch: John Oliver Roasts Florida Gov. DeSantis for Revenge Move Against Disney

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Monday May 2, 2022

Late night comedian John Oliver roasted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over his revocation of Disney's self-governing status in an act of revenge for the company's criticism of the state's "Don't Say Gay" law, the Huffington Post reported.

"Look, do I think it's bad if Disney pays more taxes?" Oliver, the host of "Last Week Tonight," said in his comedy-infused commentary on the May 1 edition of the program. "No, I don't. That would be a good thing."

That said, though, "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," Oliver continued.

"DeSantis signed a bill last month that will dissolve Disney World's private government status, which has allowed the Walt Disney Corporation to self-govern its massive Orlando theme park and resort complex," HuffPost detailed by way of background.

"Set up in 1967, this status was used to entice Disney to develop the site in central Florida, thus saving it millions in annual fees and taxes."

Critics of the state legislature's action, which was undertaken at top speed, worry that the result will be increased taxes for ordinary Florida residents — perhaps by as much as $1 billion.

A news clip that played as part of Oliver's program noted that Disney's self-government "provides fire, EMS, electricity, and other functions, like any other government would."

Apart from that, Oliver pointed out, under Florida law, "the county assumes a district's debt when it's dissolved" — a provision that is the basis for critics' worries that a massive new tax burden will befall Floridians in Osceola and Orange counties.

There's also the question of whether the new law will not pass constitutional muster, as it may violate the state constitution's contracts clause.

Oliver noted in his monologue that DeSantis — in a 180-degree departure from ordinary Republican orthodoxy regarding corporations and taxes — told an audience, "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 this."

Watch the May 1 episode of "Last Week Tonight" below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.