Disney Files Lawsuit Against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Over “Don’t Say Gay” Law

Disney has filed a federal lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, claiming that the governor is harming the company’s business operations.[0] The ongoing dispute between DeSantis and Disney escalates further with the lawsuit, as DeSantis is expected to be a Republican contender in the 2024 presidential race.[1] The conflict started when Disney, responding to protests from its own employees, criticized the “Don’t Say Gay” bill limiting discussions about sexual and gender identity in the classroom.[2] The Florida governor signed the controversial state law that restricts content concerning sexual orientation and gender identity in grades kindergarten through third grade.[3] Critics have labeled the Parental Rights in Education Law as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, asserting that it portrays LGBTQ subjects as inappropriate or taboo. Advocates of the legislation argue that it grants parents the autonomy to determine the educational content their children receive on particular topics.[4]

Disney claims that DeSantis and his allies infringed on the company’s constitutional rights and illegally voided those contracts.[5] According to the complaint, Governor DeSantis has organized a government retaliation campaign aimed at punishing Disney for their protected speech. This targeted campaign poses a threat to Disney’s business operations, puts their economic future in the region at risk, and violates their constitutional rights.[5]

The conflict between DeSantis and Disney has exploded over the past year, with the company publicly opposing the state’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The battle has created a problem for some Republicans who support “anti-woke” legislation but don’t agree with government crackdowns on the internal functioning of private businesses.

DeSantis’ conflict with Disney has faced criticism from several well-known Republicans across the country.[5] The ex-Governor of New Jersey.[6] Chris Christie said “I don’t think Ron DeSantis is a conservative, based on his actions towards Disney.” Meanwhile, former Arkansas governor and 2024 candidate Asa Hutchinson told Fox News, “You don’t use the heavy hand of government to punish business.[7] That is done by the left.[3]

Disney is the state’s largest taxpayer and has proved more popular than DeSantis across multiple polls in the last year.[5] Some Republicans, including former President Trump, have speculated that Disney may withdraw or sell certain properties in Florida.

The conflict between DeSantis and Disney highlights the pitfalls of the governor’s feud with “woke corporations.”[8] While some Republicans support “anti-woke” legislation, they do not agree with government retaliation against private businesses. Meanwhile, the lawsuit raises questions about the role of government in regulating private companies and protecting free speech rights.

0. “Disney files lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis” CBS News, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/video/disney-files-lawsuit-against-florida-gov-ron-desantis/

1. “Desantis vs. Disney: Florida governor says lawsuit has no merit” Axios, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/04/27/desantis-disney-lawsuit-no-merit

2. “DeSantis’ Disney district board: ‘We are going to have to raise taxes'” WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando, 26 Apr. 2023, https://www.clickorlando.com/news/local/2023/04/26/desantis-disney-district-board-expected-to-launch-legal-battle/

3. “Republicans Turn on DeSantis Over Disney Feud” Newsweek, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/republicans-turn-desantis-over-disney-feud-1797117

4. “DeSantis responds to Disney lawsuit: ‘I think it’s political'” ABC News, 27 Apr. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/desantis-responds-disney-lawsuit-political/story?id=98898488

5. “Disney sues Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over political retaliation” Vox.com, 26 Apr. 2023, https://www.vox.com/politics/2023/4/26/23699368/disney-ron-desantis-lawsuit-florida-central-tourism-oversight-board

6. “Cracks showing in Florida GOP support for DeSantis’ war with Disney” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/politics/2023/04/26/cracks-showing-in-florida-gop-support-for-desantis-war-with-disney/70156637007/

7. “The Republicans pouncing on DeSantis for his feud with Disney” POLITICO, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/04/27/disney-desantis-feud-republican-rivals-00094177

8. “Why is Disney suing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis?” The Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2023/04/27/disney-desantis-florida-lawsuit-explained/

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