Disney Responds to DeSantis’ Request to Dismiss Lawsuit, Raises Fundamental Questions of Liberty and Accountability

In a recent development of the ongoing feud between Walt Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Disney has responded to DeSantis’ request to dismiss the company’s lawsuit against him and other Florida officials.[0] The lawsuit, filed by Disney in April 2023, accuses DeSantis and other Florida leaders of retaliation against the company and infringing on its right to free speech.

Disney’s opposition to the motion to dismiss centers around the fundamental question of whether the Governor and the State can evade accountability for their open defiance of the nation’s most cherished liberties.[1] The company argues that the core merits of this question are presented by the motion to dismiss filed by the defendants. While DeSantis seeks to evade responsibility for his actions on a narrower ground, Disney asserts that a governor cannot be held officially liable for implementing and enforcing state laws that punish residents for political statements violating a state-prescribed speech code.[2]

The lawsuit stems from Disney’s opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which prohibits discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity in early education.[3] Disney accuses DeSantis of a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against the company.[2] The initial lawsuit claimed that DeSantis violated Disney’s First Amendment rights, and the company amended the suit in May to include more examples of the state’s retaliation.

One notable aspect of Disney’s response is its request for a court date on July 15, 2024, which coincides with the first day of the Republican National Convention.[0] This date holds significance as it aligns with DeSantis’ presidential campaign and may create additional tension between the two parties.

The battle between Disney and DeSantis began when the company publicly denounced Florida’s controversial Parental Rights in Education Act. This caused a rift between Disney and the governor, with DeSantis targeting the company and threatening to terminate its privileges in the state.[4] The dispute intensified as DeSantis took actions to punish Disney, such as suggesting that the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District could have sway over Disney content and proposing the addition of a prison in the district.[5]

The outcome of this lawsuit remains uncertain, and it is unclear when the federal case will go to trial.[6] However, the conflict between Disney and DeSantis continues to escalate, with both parties firmly standing their ground.

0. “NEWS: Disney Insists DeSantis Lawsuit Should Happen Before 2024 Election” AllEars.Net, 26 Jul. 2023, https://allears.net/2023/07/26/disney-insists-desantis-lawsuit-should-happen-before-2024-election/

1. “Disney Rejects Ron DeSantis’ Desire To Kill Retaliation Suit; “The Governor Seeks To Evade Responsibility For His Actions,” Mouse House Says” Deadline, 26 Jul. 2023, https://deadline.com/2023/07/disney-lawsuit-ron-desantis-bob-iger-dismissal-response-1235448642/

2. “Disney Lays Out Opposition Against DeSantis’ Motion to Dismiss Federal Court Case” The DIS, 27 Jul. 2023, https://www.wdwinfo.com/news-stories/disney-lays-out-opposition-against-desantis-motion-to-dismiss-federal-court-case

3. “DeSantis: Disney’s Florida employees sided with me in feud” Fox Business, 26 Jul. 2023, https://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/desantis-disneys-florida-employees-sided-with-me-feud

4. “DIS stock at risk as Disney-DeSantis saga escalates” Finbold – Finance in Bold, 27 Jul. 2023, https://finbold.com/dis-stock-at-risk-as-disney-desantis-saga-escalates/

5. “Disney claims DeSantis trying to ‘evade responsibility’ in court filing” The Business Journals, 27 Jul. 2023, https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2023/07/26/florida-desantis-disney-dismiss-court-filing.html

6. “Disney Filed a Response to Florida Governor’s Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit” Laughing Place, 27 Jul. 2023, https://www.laughingplace.com/w/news/2023/07/27/disney-filed-a-response-to-florida-governors-motion-to-dismiss-lawsuit/

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