Disney Files Lawsuit Against Florida Governor and Taxing District Board Over Retaliation for Speech

Disney Parks & Resorts filed a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the board overseeing its special taxing district, citing a “targeted campaign of government retaliation” as punishment for Disney’s protected speech. The suit argues that this retaliation threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights. The controversy began in 2022 when DeSantis passed the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which forbids public schools from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity prior to fourth grade.[0] Disney publicly opposed the bill, leading to DeSantis’ retaliation against the company. In February, DeSantis signed legislation that effectively stripped Disney of its control of the Reedy Creek Improvement District, where it operates, but Disney found a way to strip DeSantis’ board of much of its power.[1] DeSantis’ move to take over the district governing Disney’s properties in Central Florida intensified the fight between the two sides.[2] Following 14 months of increasing tension between Disney and the Florida governor regarding a state law limiting the education of sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, the parties have filed opposing lawsuits.[2]

0. “DeSantis ramping up his campaign against Disney over LGBTQ+ rights” Florida Phoenix, 1 May. 2023, https://floridaphoenix.com/2023/05/01/desantis-ramping-up-his-campaign-against-disney-over-lgbtq-rights/

1. “DeSantis-created board files suit against Disney” KSBY News, 2 May. 2023, https://www.ksby.com/desantis-created-board-files-suit-against-disney

2. “DeSantis-aligned board votes to sue Disney” CNN, 2 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/01/politics/reedy-creek-board-sues-disney/index.html

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