Disney Warns DeSantis Threatens First Amendment Rights

DeSantis and Disney Censor
Credit: Disney, Fab5, Canva

The fight between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to bring drama and frustration. Now, the concern for many revolves around their First Amendment rights and whether they will be silenced moving forward.

ron desantis, magic kingdom

Credit: Disney, Phil Sears

The Fight With DeSantis Begins

The conflict between Disney and DeSantis began back in 2022 when Disney spoke out against the controversial Parental Rights in Education law that many critics call “Don’t Say Gay”. The bill restricts classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Shortly after Disney spoke out, DeSantis began his campaign to replace and take over Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) with his leadership board. Reedy Creek Improvement District was established in 1967 by the Florida State Legislature. The goal of RCID was to create and manage municipal services.

It is through RCID that public services such as fire protection, emergency medical services, water production treatment, and environmental protections are provided.

On February 27, 2023, Reedy Creek Improvement District (RCID) was transitioned to the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District (CFTOD). This change happened following the passing of House Bill 9B by the Florida Legislature. As part of the transition, a whole new board of supervisors was appointed by Gov Ron DeSantis.

CFTOD and the new board have seen a massive exit from leadership. As this week started, reports indicated more than 30 employees have quit. Employees who have quit state that inept, dishonest, and toxic leadership is the reason for their departure.

Related: Disney Loses Employees Due to Awful Conditions

This includes the majority of the senior leadership time that served RCID. Key positions such as the District Administrator and Fire Department Chief are just a few examples of the leadership positions that now have significant shoes to fill.

As the fight between Florida Gov Ron DeSantis and Disney continues, we see more concerns being raised by Disney before the trial.

florida governor ron desantis disney lawsuit lose presidential

Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr

First Amendment Concerns

Disney is warning others ahead of the trial that if DeSantis wins in the courtroom, it will give DeSantis and other Republicans the ability to suppress speech moving forward. “If the line is not drawn here, there is no line at all,” Disney explained recently regarding the case.

Disney states that it is up to Disney and other leaders to step up and fight back when big corporations make mistakes. If DeSantis can win, there could be considerable implications for corporate speech and government response. Disney claims that the First Amendment protected their comments regarding the initial bill and that the state’s actions since then have been unconstitutional.

bob iger looking fondly at mickey mouse, magic kingdom in the background

Credit: Disney, Canva

DeSantis and others state that Disney’s claim that their First Amendment rights were harmed is directly related to their dislike of the new governing by CFTOD. The state explains that taking over the district was due to fairness, not retaliation due to Disney’s previous comments.

As Disney looks to prevent DeSantis and others from taking “retaliatory actions,” DeSantis and his team focus on fairness. Until the trial, we will continue to monitor the situation and how it could impact Walt Disney World and the Disney Company overall.

Related: Gov. Ron DeSantis Paying Parents in Florida to Take Their Kids to Disney World

About Jennifer Retzlaff

My name is Jennifer Retzlaff and I became a lifelong Disney fan during my first trip to Walt Disney World in 6th grade. From that moment, Disney became a big part of my life. I live in Iowa with my husband and two kids who are growing up too quickly for my liking. I started introducing my love for Disney early to my family with a Disney honeymoon and then trips when our youngest of 18 months. Since then, our family has been to Walt Disney World over five times and we continue to plan and dream for the next trip. I love the magic that Disney brings to people through the theme parks, cruises, adventures and movies they create. As a teacher, I try to bring that magic into my classroom to help kids believe that “If You Can Dream It, You Can Do It.” I recently reached a dream of mine as I joined Magic Vacation Planner as a personal travel advisor. With this team, I can now help others plan magical vacations. As a passionate writer, I also have my own blog at magicalvacationsbyjen which is also where you can follow me on instagram for trip reviews along with tips and tricks for your next magical vacation.