Disney Files Lawsuit Against Florida Governor and Tourism District for Constitutional Rights Violations and Retaliation

Disney has filed a 77-page lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, accusing them of violating the company’s constitutional rights and engaging in a targeted campaign of government retaliation.[0] The dispute began last year when Disney opposed a parental rights bill in Florida that prohibited educators from leading classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity, which opponents dubbed “Don’t Say Gay”.[1] Legislators responded by dissolving the company’s special taxing district by June this year. Disney alleges that DeSantis and other lawmakers have engaged in retaliation against the company over former CEO Bob Chapek’s criticism of the bill, even though this came after Disney donated money to its sponsors. The lawsuit claims that this retaliation now threatens Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region, and violates its constitutional rights. Disney CEO Bob Iger stated that their primary goal has always been to continue investing in Florida and that the company operates responsibly, pays its fair share of taxes, and employs thousands of people.[2] He added that the company’s employee benefits and wages are substantially higher than those dictated by the state and include paying all college tuition and fees for hourly employees in Florida.[3]

0. “Disney CEO Bob Iger sends a subtle message to Ron DeSantis that his retaliation against Disney may impact future …” wdwmagic.com, 10 May. 2023, https://www.wdwmagic.com/other/walt-disney-company/news/10may2023-disney-ceo-bob-iger-sends-a-subtle-message-to-ron-desantis-that-his-retaliation-against-disney-may-impact-future-spending-in-florida.htm

1. “Behind the billion-dollar legal war between Disney and DeSantis” Yahoo Finance, 10 May. 2023, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/behind-the-billion-dollar-legal-war-between-disney-and-desantis-143935816.html

2. “Disney CEO addresses Gov. DeSantis controversy during earnings call” WESH 2 Orlando, 11 May. 2023, https://www.wesh.com/article/disney-ceo-bob-iger-desantis/43856921

3. “Disney CEO Bob Iger escalates feud with Ron DeSantis for taking away company’s special tax district” Daily Mail, 11 May. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12070865/Disney-CEO-Bob-Iger-escalates-feud-Ron-DeSantis-taking-away-companys-special-tax-district.html

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