Disney Grows Desperate After Judge Tosses Lawsuit Against DeSantis

The Walt Disney Company filed an appeal Thursday disputing a judge’s decision to throw out the company’s First Amendment lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis.

Disney had filed the lawsuit last year, claiming to be the victim of an unconstitutional “targeted campaign” by the Governor following their criticism of the 2022 Parental Rights in Education. The company claimed they had been retaliated against after DeSantis signed a bill revoking the self-governing status of Disney’s district and transferring control to the state.

The legal battle stopped on Wednesday after Federal Judge Allen Winsor ruled that the entertainment conglomerate lacked the standing to sue DeSantis.

“As Disney appropriately acknowledges, the Legislature can determine the structure of Florida’s special improvement districts. […] [N]o one reading the text of the challenged laws would suppose them directed against Disney. The laws do not mention Disney. Disney is left to argue that we should go beyond the laws’ text and see what they do in operation.”

Shortly after their defeat in court, Disney indicated that they would quickly move to appeal the ruling. A spokesman for the company criticized the decision and said they would “press forward” despite facing repeated setbacks.

“This is an important case with serious implications for the rule of law, and it will not end here. If left unchallenged, this would set a dangerous precedent and give license to states to weaponize their official powers to punish the expression of political viewpoints they disagree with. We are determined to press forward with our case.”

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At a subsequent press conference in Tallahassee on Thursday, DeSantis called the appeal a “mistake” and said he was “shocked” that Disney would continue to drag out their legal dispute.

“We knew that the legislature had authority to do it, I had the authority to sign the legislation as we did, and I would like to see an accounting from some of the people who last year were trying to say that somehow Disney had outmaneuvered Florida, or that somehow they were in the right on all this,” DeSantis told reporters.

“You heard a lot of squawking when they were able to use it to try to attack Florida or try to attack me. I don’t hear very much now that the case was summarily dismissed. I mean, they don’t have a case.”

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In a Wednesday statement, DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern said, “The days of Disney controlling its own government and being placed above the law are long gone.”

“As stated by Governor DeSantis when he signed HB 9-B, the Corporate Kingdom is over… The federal court’s decision made it clear that Governor DeSantis was correct: Disney is still just one of many corporations in the state, and they do not have a right to their own special government. In short — as long predicted, case dismissed.”

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