Disney sues Florida governor Ron DeSantis, accusing him of making political efforts to harm its businesses. The legal action is part of the clash, which has been going on for months, over the controversial ‘Don’t say gay’ law approved by DeSantis and against which Disney has sided, triggering the reaction of the governor of Florida.
The clash between Disney and Ron DeSantis
Disney drew the governor’s ire last year after he denounced a bill that restricted the teaching of subjects related to sexual orientation and gender identity in elementary schools in the state, Le Monde reported. Florida. Hence the clash with DeSantis who in recent weeks has spoken publicly about the possibility of building a “state prison” near Disney World or a competing amusement park. The Florida governor has also hinted at the idea of introducing additional hotel taxes or road tolls. “I think the possibilities are endless,” DeSantis said at a press conference.
In early April, according to the French newspaper Le Monde, Robert Iger, president of Disney, spoke out against DeSantis’ decision to cut the benefits Disney World has enjoyed in Orlando since 1960. The company then decided to take the matter to court by suing the governor. In the complaint, Walt Disney Parks and Resort accuses DeSantis of organizing a “campaign” to carry out “targeted government revenge” as punishment for exercising his “freedom of expression”. This, according to the allegations, represents a “threat to Disney’s business operations, jeopardizes its economic future in the region and violates its constitutional rights,” the company argues.
Disney is alleging “an anti-trade and unconstitutional retaliatory measure.” The group believes it “has no choice but to pursue this lawsuit to protect its employees, customers and partners.” Iger publicly accused DeSantis of taking an “anti-trade action” that violated the company’s “right to free speech.”
The company plans to invest more than $17 billion in Disney World over the next decade, create more than 10,000 jobs and attract even more tourists to Florida. “Any action to thwart these efforts simply to retaliate for a stand taken by the company appears not only anti-trade, but anti-Florida,” Iger said. The Disney boss drew a parallel with certain positions taken by American companies in favor of the struggle for civil rights in the United States in the 60s.
Who is Ron DeSantis and the implications in the race for the White House
A figure on the populist right in the United States, DeSantis is seen as Donald Trump’s main competitor in the Republican primaries. He has made the fight against wokism one of his main battlefields by accusing a group of “elites” of imposing their progressive ideology on a society that rejects it. DeSantis, a 44-year-old conservative, has not yet formalized his candidacy for the primaries, but his statements against Disney have also led him to receive protests from the right: some Republicans criticize this fight against business which goes against the tradition of the party.
Republican Haley: “Disney is moving to South Carolina”
The battle between Disney and Governor DeSantis has thus become increasingly political, breaking into the race for the White House. Nikki Haley, the Republican candidate in the 2024 election, has called on the company to move to her home state of South Carolina and leave Florida. “My state would be happy to accept more than 70,000 jobs if Disney wants to leave Florida,” Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, said on social media. “We have great weather, great people and it’s always a beautiful day in South Carolina,” she added.