Charlie Crist says Florida has lost out on $1.5 billion in revenue from the film and TV industry under Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate snapped the clapperboard Friday on a plan, which he’s calling “Entertainment Florida,” to diversify and strengthen the state economy. In doing so, he hopes to bring hundreds of thousands of production jobs to the Sunshine State.
“Florida’s once iconic film and television production industry has been decimated under Ron DeSantis’s failed leadership. We will rebuild it under the Crist Administration,” Crist said in a statement. “Gov. DeSantis has let hundreds of millions in economic activity leave our state, and countless thousands of jobs slip away. We’re going to bring it all back to Florida, reestablishing the Sunshine State as a global hub for making the best movies and TV shows in the world.”
Speaking in Miami, Crist said Florida was the No. 3 state for film production more than a decade ago, back when he was Governor. Now, the Sunshine State isn’t even in the top 20.
Crist said he’ll work with lawmakers, Republican and Democrat, to restore industry incentives and work with city and county film commissions to get industry credits running smoothly. Specifically, he plans to elevate the Film and Entertainment Advisory Council to report directly to the Governor’s Office.
“Each one of those films is like a two-hour commercial for the Sunshine State. It’s all upside, no downside,” he told reporters. “Why Gov. DeSantis hasn’t embraced that is beyond my comprehension, except that, probably ideologically, he’s not a big fan of Hollywood, and that’s a shame. I think it’s important that we embrace these wonderful people who do so much for the best entertainment industry in the world.”
DeSantis has made a point to combat “woke ideology” in Florida schools and businesses, including with a “Stop WOKE Act” he signed this year that is currently under litigation. The Republican Governor has also extended his complaints about social justice to the film industry.
In June, DeSantis told reporters he took the First Lady to see “Top Gun: Maverick” for her birthday. Even before the First Family saw the movie, DeSantis predicted it was doing so well at the box office because it is relatable to the average person. Later, he invoked the film to bemoan the U.S. Navy “focusing on pronouns.”
Joining Crist on Friday were industry support staff. Leah Sokowlowsky, a location manager and scout who has worked in Florida for 30 years, outlined the ways the film and TV industry brings billions to the state economy.
“The bottom line is, I’m supporting Charlie Crist for the next Governor of Florida because he supports Florida small businesses, he supports high-wage jobs for working Floridians — like me — and he supports my industry, which is really nice to see,” Sokowlowsky said. “He understands the impact this industry can have in promoting Florida throughout the world.”
Americans for Prosperity Florida, the state branch of a nationwide fiscally conservative advocacy group, called the plan a bailout for the TV and film industry. In a tweet, AFP Florida State Director Skylar Zander likened Crist’s proposal as a gift to the Democrat’s “liberal Hollywood donors.”
“Rep. Charlie Crist just announced that he wants to provide incentives for the film and television industries, which is a clear bailout for his rich industry-related donors,” Zander said in a statement. “Charlie Crist wants to use Floridians’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars to then hand it over to the rich film and television industry.
“This is the very definition of wasteful government spending and he’s putting it on the backs of voting Floridians. He should be ashamed for pushing the voting public to support such an endeavor. Charlie says he’s for the middle class yet he’s willing to give our money away to billionaires — the same thing he did when he was Governor previously and it was a failed policy.”
John Lux, the executive director of the nonpartisan trade group Film Florida, welcomed Crist’s announcement in a statement to Florida Politics.
“Anytime anyone wants to discuss high-wage job creation and telling the Florida story, we want to be at that table,” Lux said.
Lux also criticized U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, who succeeded Crist and preceded DeSantis as Governor, for letting the state’s incentive programs lapse. But Lux noted Film Florida has been working to pass new legislation with a bipartisan team of lawmakers — namely Sen. Joe Gruters and Rep. Dana Trabulsy, both Republicans, and Sen. Linda Stewart and Rep. David Silvers, both Democrats.
“We are grateful for the bipartisan support (and) we are looking forward to working with policymakers to create a successor program,” Lux continued.
Until his resignation this week, Crist had represented Florida’s 13th Congressional District since winning the seat in the 2016 election. Crist was elected Governor as a Republican in 2006 but left the party and did not seek re-election in 2010, opting instead for an ultimately unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate.
DeSantis currently holds the polling and fundraising lead in his re-election bid. The latest polling commissioned by one progressive coalition put DeSantis up 3 points over Crist, within the poll’s margin of error. However, FiveThirtyEight puts DeSantis up 7 points over Crist, a large margin compared to recent Florida history. The outfit also gives DeSantis a 93% chance of winning in November.
September 2, 2022 at 11:39 am
Nobody wants to invest in Florida anymore because of conservative Republican grifters and con men who do nothing for ordinary people…only themselves and the super rich. Voting for far right man men, huge liars, and criminals doesn’t help. Vote for me and we will annihilate the bstards.
September 2, 2022 at 3:48 pm
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September 2, 2022 at 11:53 am
Keep Hollywood grifters, incompetents out.
September 2, 2022 at 12:02 pm
Yeah keep all the smart people, cultured people, civilized people out of Florida. We only want neo nazis, rich hogs, and the stupid right wingers who give them their money hand over fist so they can hoard it. We want Florida to be Mississippi with a beach 🤡🤮
September 6, 2022 at 10:48 am
Whats the matte TOM…..Why you on here. Mar a Lago lunch special not up to your standards?!?
September 2, 2022 at 12:29 pm
JFC who writes these story headlines?
“Charie Christ drops teaser trailer …”
He didn’t “drop” it. he began running it. This horrible new “use” of the word “drop” continues apace.
Renzo, your stories show a lot of initiative. Don’t let headlines take away from that.
September 2, 2022 at 12:31 pm
All one has to do is bring the show “American Greed” to Florida to film reruns of Charlie’s associations with criminals and grifters raping the Florida taxpayers. Isn’t that the reason Charlie is a three-time loser for the Senate and now his ridiculous circling back to governor which is already a fail?
September 2, 2022 at 1:26 pm
American greed is Donald Trump. People like you can’t be expected to understand this because you’ve lost it. It’s so obvious this man was a fat grifter, con artist, huge liar… only out for himself and others like him.
September 2, 2022 at 1:48 pm
Nope! Charlie was featured on American Greed several times due to the grifters he was associating with stealing taxpayer dollars. That’s what did him in in his previous elections and why he will fail this time, unlike Donald Trump who was elected twice.
Perhaps Biden will be on American Greed for a stolen election and treason. There is evidence. You can spew hatred, obscenities, extremist comments and it still won’t change the facts.
September 2, 2022 at 3:24 pm
Stolen election? You are not even American…just a disgrace to this nation. You are criminally insane..
September 3, 2022 at 4:11 pm
American greed is “The Big Guy”. People like you can’t be expected to understand this because you’ve lost it. It’s so obvious him and his family are grifters, con artists, liars, pedophiles, drug addicts and influence peddlers… only out for themselves and the rest of their corrupt establishment pals.
September 6, 2022 at 10:50 am
Hope….Truth.org wants your commentary.
September 3, 2022 at 4:07 pm
I’d rather have industry that makes real tangible things here. For example the semiconductor industry.
I’d prefer we not subsidize the entertainment industry in any way. We already have too many people who would prefer to play more and more elaborate games of pretend than live in reality.
September 3, 2022 at 4:16 pm
Charlie Crist is a huge fraud. I can’t believe anyone would vote for him. He stands for nothing but getting another job at the public trough. It’s time for him to become a Walmart greeter or a ditch digger.
I’ll be glad to finally see the back of him.
September 14, 2022 at 12:11 pm
I support anyone who supports the Film and Production business. Those who don’t like us…need to get rid of your TV’s and never step foot in a theater. We have 15,000 filmmakers and many coming out of universities this state needs fresh business, dump Puppet DeSantos and vote for Charlie
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