Disney has escalated the fight being waged by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
After Disney spoke out against the Parental Rights in Education law (often criticized as the “Don’t Say Gay” law), DeSantis and the Florida legislature removed the Disney-friendly Reedy Creek Improvement District Board, replacing the members with some hand-picked by the governor himself. Disney has decided to fight back by suing DeSantis and the new Board, and now, the governor’s office has responded.
Disney has officially sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (as well as members of the District’s new board) alleging that the Governor has waged a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” against Disney.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court and alleges that DeSantis has orchestrated a campaign to punish Disney for its political views, which has threatened Disney’s business.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, and alleges, “A targeted campaign of government retaliation—orchestrated at every step by Governor DeSantis as punishment for Disney’s protected speech—now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights.”
Within the full complaint, Disney has alleged:
- For more than half a century, Disney has made an immeasurable impact on Florida and its economy, establishing Central Florida as a top global tourist destination
- Disney is one of Central Florida’s largest taxpayers
- Disney is also one of the largest employers in the State
Disney argues that DeSantis “paid no mind to the governing structure that facilitated Reedy Creek’s successful development until one year ago, when the Governor decided to target Disney.” In Disney’s view, “There is no room for disagreement about what happened here: Disney expressed its opinion on state legislation and was then punished by the State for doing so.”
DeSantis said that Disney’s statement on the Don’t Say Gay law had “crossed a line.” Following that, Disney argues, he has employed “the machinery of the State in a coordinated campaign to damage Disney’s ability to do business in Florida.”
And now, the governor’s office has released a statement.
According to Variety, a spokesperson for DeSantis said that Disney seeks to “undermine the will of the Florida voters.”
“We are unaware of any legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges not held by other businesses in the state,” said Taryn Fenske, spokesperson. “This lawsuit is yet another unfortunate example of their hope to undermine the will of the Florida voters and operate outside the bounds of the law.”
Disney said the “latest strike” in DeSantis’ campaign has been the action taken by the board of supervisors of the District on April 26th, 2023 which invalidated some of Disney’s “publically noticed and duly agreed development contracts” that it had signed with the previous board.
Because of this, Disney is asking that the court:
- declare the legislative declaration just approved by the new Reedy Creek board as unlawful
- declare that the contracts Disney signed with the old board are still in effect, and
- declare that the laws impacting Reedy Creek (specifically, the first one that would have dissolved the district, and the second one that made substantial changes to the District) be declared unlawful.
We’ll continue to keep you updated, as this is a developing story. Stay tuned to DFB for the latest news.
Learn More About the Lawsuit Here
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The post DeSantis’ Office Releases Statement in Response to Lawsuit from Disney first appeared on the disney food blog.