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Disney Sues DeSantis Over Free Speech Violations

Disney Sues DeSantis

Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has been at war with Disney since mid-2022. In that time, he has learned a valuable life lesson: If you’re going to come for the Mouse, you’d better come correct because Disney doesn’t play around. They are relentless too. You won’t find Disney backing down from a fight. DeSantis has been met with significant criticism for his role in the ongoing feud.

DeSantis vrs Disney

Credit: Disney and CNN

In a shocking turn of events today, Disney has said, “I’ll see your empty threat and raise you a real one.” We are just discovering that Disney has, in fact, filed a lawsuit against Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis. The suit comes as the final straw in the ongoing battle over the Reedy Creek Improvement District and governmental overreach in regard to constitutionally protected free speech.

Related: DeSantis Land? Governor Seeks Control of Disney’s Land 

This battle began when DeSantis signed his Parental Rights in Education Act (dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” by critics), which seeks to ban educators from discussing sexual orientation or gender identity with students younger than 3rd grade. After initially being silent on the matter, Disney spoke out against it. That should have been the end of it, but DeSantis chose to threaten and punish Disney over their stance. He took away their Reedy Creek Improvement District, targeted Disney over trivial matters, and canceled future projects. He also threatened to build a prison next door in a very public meltdown. It’s clear today that Disney was simply placating the Governor up to this point but has finally had enough.

cinderella castle and lamppost with governor ron desantis

A review of the complaint shows several grievances, but perhaps the most poignant comes at the very end: “Disney also knows that it is fortunate to be able to take a stand against the state’s retaliation – a stand smaller businesses and individuals might not be able to take when the State comes after them for expressing their own view.”

RRelatedBon Iger Addresses Controversial Don’t Say Gay Bill 

The complaint also seeks to prove that DeSantis violated due process, was in breach of contract, and has filed two first amendment violation grievances. The complaint stated that Disney never wanted a fight with DeSantis and tried to open dialog in order to de-escalate the fight several times and was met with derision. They also expressed regret for how things have turned out, saying, “Disney regrets that it has come to this. But having exhausted efforts to seek a resolution, the Company is left with no choice but to file this lawsuit to protect its Cast Members, Guests, and local development partners from a relentless campaign to weaponize government power against Disney in retaliation for expressing a political viewpoint unpopular with certain State officials.” 

Related: Disney, DeSantis,  and Poltical Suicide: How a Fight With a Mouse May Cost Him the Presidency 

The suit has been filed in Federal courts. No hearing date has been set yet, but when that happens, you can be sure Disney Dining will bring you up to date information. Grab your popcorn, folks. This is about to get good.

About Jill Bivins

Jill Bivins has been visiting Disney Parks since she was 2 years old and loves sharing her Disney adventures with the world. She likes to say Disney is in her blood and writing is in her bones — so any time she has the opportunity to combine these loves she is one happy camper! She has a deep abiding love for Epcot and as a die hard Star Wars fan has a serious love for Hollywood Studios as well. When she isn't exploring or writing about Disney Parks, Jill is homeschooling her 8 year old son, playing with her brand new baby son, or pretending to be a farmer on her family homestead (despite being unable to keep even a cactus alive). Find Jill on Instagram @minnieonmain.