Disney Sues Florida Governor Ron DeSantis; Cites "A Targeted Campaign Of Government Retaliation"

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/27/2023
On Wednesday, Walt Disney Co. filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), just after the board he appointed decided to revoke two crucial contracts that gave Disney authority over its enormous 25,000-acre resort complex.

Disney filed a lawsuit "asking a court to overturn state efforts to exert control over the company's Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando," according to Reuters.

Disney filed a federal court lawsuit against DeSantis, the board, and other state officials, alleging that the Republican-led administration has engaged in "a targeted campaign of government retaliation." Disney and DeSantis have been at odds for many months due to a political dispute over the DeSantis-supported legislation, known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill by its detractors, which limited the teaching of some LGBTQ-related subjects in schools.

"The company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its cast members, guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials," according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit, according to the New York Times, also said that DeSantis "now threatens Disney's business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights."

In response, DeSantis' office issued a statement that read: "We are unaware of any legal right that a firm has to run its own government or keep unique advantages not enjoyed by other companies in the state. This lawsuit is simply another regrettable illustration of their intention to frustrate the will of the Florida electorate and act illegally.

Disney's CEO, Bob Iger, has criticized DeSantis' actions against the firm as "anti-business" and "anti-Florida." Disney recently came under fire from DeSantis because the firm skillfully outwitted the board and kept much of its legal power over its district.

Republican and Democratic circles have expressed opposition to DeSantis's criticisms of Disney for expressing a political viewpoint without the firm taking any tangible action. Former governor of Maryland Larry Hogan (R) denounced DeSantis' actions against the business as an assault on the "free speech" guaranteed by the First Amendment.

According to a recent survey, the great majority of Americans would be less likely to support a politician who penalized a firm for taking a certain political position, according to Reuters.

Among the respondents, 73%—including 82% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans—said they were less inclined to supporting a politician who supported legislation that would penalize businesses for their political or cultural viewpoints.

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