The Republican State Treasurer of South Carolina Curtis Loftis announced in a Tuesday press release that the state has removed The Walt Disney Corporation from the State’s approved investment list, ensuring that none of the $105 million in Disney debt instruments will be replaced once they’ve matured. Loftis cited his growing concerns with Disney’s “political agenda.”
In a statement posted to X the Treasurer’s Office said, “South Carolina State Treasurer Curtis Loftis has removed The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) from its approved investment list. The State Treasurer’s Office portfolio contains $105 million dollars of Disney debt instruments that will mature as scheduled and will not be replaced. The Treasurer will focus on the equity portfolio in the coming weeks.”
According to the press release, Loftis explained his concerns that “Disney has abandoned its fiduciary responsibilities to its investors and customers by joining far-left activist in boycotting legal, taxpaying, employment-creating corporations to further Disney’s political agenda.”
— S.C. State Treasurer's Office (@TreasurerLoftis) December 5, 2023
“Multi-billion-dollar corporations should not engage in boycotts designed to silence legitimate debate. Since America’s founding, freedom of speech has been one of its core principals, and Disney should not engage in nefarious practices aimed at silencing those with less power and money.”
As treasurer, Loftis oversees and manages South Carolina’s $70 billion investments and serves as the administrator of many state programs.
According to a report from the Post and Courier, Loftis is known for opposing “ESG” or “environmental, social and governance” investing, arguing that returns, not politics, should count in investment decisions. In 2022, he took a similar stand by divesting state funds from BlackRock, a major asset manager that endorses ESG.
A spokesman for Loftis’ office told the Post and Courier that characterizing his decision as a political one would be “disingenuous,” pointing to Disney’s faltering share prices and mounting debt. Responding to the suggestion that Loftis could halt investments in other companies that have chosen to pull ads from Elon Musk’s X platform, the spokesman said the treasurer would make the decisions “appropriate with his responsibilities to the people of South Carolina.”
Loftis’ actions would seem incompatible with previous comments from former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley who, as previously reported by Trending Politics, said that given Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ position against Disney, her “home state will happily accept your 70,000+ jobs if you want to leave Florida.”
According to Loftis’ bio, the Republican has “returned more than $335 million in unclaimed funds to South Carolinians, more than all previous state treasurers combined.”