The Ongoing Battle: Disney vs. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over Free Speech and Expression

In recent years, the battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has taken center stage. It all started when Disney opposed a state law called the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, which banned classroom discussions on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades.[0] DeSantis, a conservative governor, vowed to punish “woke corporations” like Disney, accusing them of promoting a “woke agenda.”[1] He even wrote a column in The Wall Street Journal, stating that leaders like himself must fight back against these corporations or risk losing the political battlefield to the left.

DeSantis’s campaign against “wokeness” gained national attention in 2022 when he introduced the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law.[2] Disney publicly condemned the law after facing protests from fans and cast members.[2] The feud between DeSantis and Disney intensified when the company criticized the law, calling it a restriction on free speech and expression.

Disney CEO Bob Iger vehemently denied DeSantis’s claims that the company was sexualizing children.[3] He called the accusations “preposterous” and emphasized that Disney’s goal was to tell wonderful stories and have a positive impact on the world.[4] Iger expressed his concern that DeSantis was encouraging intolerance and hate, particularly referring to the neo-Nazi groups that gathered outside Disney World waving swastika flags.[3]

In response to Disney’s opposition to the “Don’t Say Gay” law, DeSantis took retaliatory action.[5] He targeted the special tax district that allowed Disney World to self-govern its Florida operations for decades.[3] Disney filed a federal lawsuit against DeSantis, accusing him of political retribution and trying to “weaponize government power” against the company.

The legal battle between Florida and Disney escalated further when DeSantis signed the “Don’t Say Gay” law into effect in March 2022. The law restricts discussions of gender identity and sexual orientation in classrooms.[6] Disney’s lawsuit against the state of Florida claims that DeSantis violated the company’s constitutional rights of free speech and property rights.

The conflict between DeSantis and Disney has had consequences for both parties. Disney canceled a $1 billion project to build an office campus and relocate employees to Orlando.[7] They also shut down a Star Wars hotel that had been open for less than two years.[7] DeSantis claimed that the controversy was impacting parents’ willingness to take their kids to Disney.[8]

Throughout the dispute, Disney has maintained its stance of avoiding culture wars and focusing on telling wonderful stories. CEO Bob Iger emphasized that their inclusivity and acceptance attract new talent and ideas that drive economic growth in California, where diversity is celebrated.[6]

In conclusion, the battle between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been marked by accusations, lawsuits, and political retaliation. Disney has defended its position of opposing laws that restrict free speech and expression, while DeSantis has accused the company of promoting a “woke agenda.” The outcome of this ongoing conflict remains uncertain, but it highlights the tensions between corporations and conservative politicians over social issues.

0. “Disney CEO Bob Iger slams Ron DeSantis for ‘preposterous’ political attacks” New York Daily News, 13 Jul. 2023,

1. “Bob Iger Talks Florida, TV Networks, Contract Extension, Strikes, and Parks in Interview with CNBC” DAPS MAGIC, 14 Jul. 2023,

2. “DeSantis Seriously Wrecks Florida Tourism Industry, “They’re Really Suffering”” Inside the Magic, 11 Jul. 2023,

3. “DeSantis claims that Disney sexualizes children are ‘preposterous,’ CEO Bob Iger says” CNBC, 13 Jul. 2023,

4. “Disney CEO Bob Iger Speaks Out Against DeSantis’ Outrageous “Sexualization” Claims” Disney Dining, 13 Jul. 2023,

5. “Disney CEO Iger to DeSantis: ‘Preposterous’ company sexualizes kids” USA TODAY, 14 Jul. 2023,

6. “Ron DeSantis’ War With Disney Handing One of His Biggest Rivals Major Win” Newsweek, 12 Jul. 2023,

7. “DeSantis’s ‘Lasting Harm’ To Disney In Florida Pushes Mouse House To Boost California Investments – Walt” Benzinga, 13 Jul. 2023,

8. “Disney’s Bob Iger calls Gov. Ron DeSantis’ claims ‘preposterous'” Tallahassee Democrat, 13 Jul. 2023,

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