Disney Dumps Most of Lawsuit Against DeSantis in Latest Defeat
Disney dropped most of its claims Thursday in their federal lawsuit against Ron DeSantis, leaving just one complaint in its free speech case against the Governor.
The entertainment conglomerate last week asked a judge for permission to amend its lawsuit to focus solely on its First Amendment case, in another significant win for the Governor since first revoking the Disney district’s special tax status in April. The company has alleged that the Governor’s decision was retaliatory due to its criticism of the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation.
After ditching most of their lawsuit, the company issued a statement vowing a ‘vigorous’ defense of the development contracts lost after their conflict with the Governor.
“We will continue to fight vigorously to defend these contracts, because these agreements will determine whether or not Disney can invest billions of dollars and generate thousands of new jobs in Florida,”
🚨 BREAKING REPORT: In a HUGE win for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Walt Disney has just DROPPED nearly their ENTIRE lawsuit against the state of Florida.
— Proud Elephant 🇺🇸🦅 (@ProudElephantUS) September 7, 2023
After the Mouse House inserted itself into state politics, DeSantis returned fire by stripping Disney of its self-governing status in the Reedy Creek Improvement District–which houses Disney’s theme parks. Reedy Creek was also formally renamed the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD).
However, before the new governing board took over, Disney quickly attempted to create several new development contracts. The new, DeSantis-appointed board later dismissed these.
“Disney faces concrete, imminent, and ongoing injury due to CFTOD’s new powers and composition, which are being used to punish Disney for expressing a political view,” Disney said in their federal court motion.
“this unconstitutional weaponization of government by seeking a declaratory judgment that will allow Disney to pursue its future in Florida free from the ongoing retaliatory actions of the CFTOD Board,”
Disney is just stalling for time now in the federal lawsuit against DeSantis.
The last remaining claim is laughably weak and relies on the insane “Disney is RCID” argument. Corporations are not entitled to run their own fiefdoms in perpetuity. pic.twitter.com/aIa66xHozi
— Legal Mindset (@TheLegalMindset) September 8, 2023
Despite Disney’s saber-rattling, the CFTOD board is taking Disney’s latest motion as a win, telling CNBC they were “pleased” to see that Disney had “backtracked on these legal claims against the district.”
Alexei Woltornist, a spokesman for the district, said in a statement,
“Disney’s latest legal move puts them in line with the position of what the district has been advocating for months now: that these matters should be decided in state court. We hope this helps expedite justice for the people of Florida.”
In the eyes of the Governor, however, the war against Disney has already been won. In August, DeSantis told CNBC that he had “basically moved on” from the fight.
“They’re suing the state of Florida. They’re going to lose that lawsuit,” DeSantis said, before telling the outlet that his advice to Disney CEO Bob Iger would be to “drop the lawsuit.”
“This is a great place to do business. Your competitors all do very well here, Universal, SeaWorld. They have not had the same special privileges as you have.”
“All we want to do is treat everybody the same, and let’s move forward,’ DeSantis said. “I’m totally fine with that. But I’m not fine with giving extraordinary privileges, you know, to one special company at the exclusion of everybody else.”
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