DeSantis Is Not Losing Sleep Over Disney’s New Lawsuit

Governor Ron DeSantis stated that Disney’s Federal Lawsuit has no legal merit and claims Disney has no authority to operate its ‘own government.’ Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is said to be unconcerned with Disney’s lawsuit against him. The FL Governor said that Disney is upset because they must follow the same rules. Moreover, the Company wants power over things without adequate scrutiny and doesn’t want to pay the same taxes as everyone else. The Governor of Florida said Wednesday in Jerusalem that the days of putting one Company on a pedestal without accountability are over.

Disney claims that the FL Governor has waged a relentless campaign to “weaponize government power.” The suit is the latest move in a feud between Disney and the Governor, and it was filed the same day that the board moved to undo the deal that Disney struck to keep its power. The Federal lawsuit alleges DeSantis’s campaign threatens the corporation’s business.

A unified panel voted to declare “void and unenforceable” the development deal, which was approved right before Disney-approved supervisors were replaced with DeSantis’ preferred nominees.

“I don’t think the suit has merit,” DeSantis said, adding that the complaint is political rather than “pro-business.”

Meanwhile, his communications director, Taryn Fenske, also issued a statement dismissing the lawsuit. Fenske said she is unaware of any legal right that a company has to run its government or enjoy special privileges not enjoyed by other businesses in the state. She added that this lawsuit is an unfortunate example of their attempts to undermine the will of Florida voters while operating outside the law.

As previously noted, DeSantis has legally chastised Disney since the corporation began pushing against the Parental Rights in Education Act in 2022.

Disney had administered its micro-government within Florida according to the Reedy Creek Improvement Act of 1967. At the heart of Mr. DeSantis’s battle with Disney is a special tax district that includes Disney World, which employs 75,000 people and attracts 50 million visitors annually. The district, established southwest of Orlando in 1967, virtually converted the property into its county, giving Disney unusual control over fire protection, policing, waste management, energy generation, road maintenance, bond issuance, and development planning, according to The New York Times.

DeSantis has actively worked to reverse this blatant benefit. DeSantis responded by pushing the Florida legislature to remove Disney’s self-governing authority and create a new board, full of his appointees, that now has control over the theme park’s development, Fox Business Network reports.

In response, Disney sued DeSantis on Wednesday, accusing him of launching a targeted campaign of government retaliation against the Company’s “protected speech.” The complaint alleges that the Governor violates Disney’s constitutional rights, threatens its business operation, and jeopardizes its economic future in the region.

According to a statement, Disney is sorry that this has come to this. However, having exhausted all efforts to reach an agreement, the Company is forced 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 a recent Harvard/Harris survey, the Governor’s measures against Disney are backed by most Florida voters. A 56 percent majority of Floridians backed DeSantis’ decision to revoke Disney’s unique powers and form an oversight board. In contrast, only 44 percent of Floridians reject the idea.