Disney Lawsuit: The company is suing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over its takeover of the Disney World district

The company accused a “targeted campaign of government retaliation.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2023 19:27

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.– Disney sued Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday over the Republican takeover of its amusement park district, accusing the governor of waging a “targeted campaign of retaliation by the government” after the company defied legal critics' calls of “Don't Say Gay.”

The lawsuit, filed in Tallahassee, was filed minutes after a Disney World supervisory board appointed by DeSantis voted to cancel the deal that placed design and construction decisions for the theme park in the hands of the company.

It is the latest conflict in the ongoing feud between DeSantis, a Republican expected to run for president, and Disney, a powerful political player and key tourism driver in Florida.

People visit Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Friday, April 22, 2022.

AP/Ted Shaffrey's photo

The dispute with Disney has drawn significant criticism from rival White House governors and business leaders who see it as an extraordinary rejection of the principle of small government conservatism.

The battle began last year after Disney, in the face of significant pressure, publicly challenged a state law banning classroom instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades, a policy critics called “Don't Say Gay.”

As punishment, DeSantis took over Disney World's self-governing district and appointed a new board of trustees that would oversee municipal services in the sprawling theme park. But before the new board stepped in, the company pushed through an 11-hour agreement that stripped the new supervisor of much of its authority.

The DeSantis board on Wednesday said Disney's move to retain control of their property was effectively unlawful and was carried out without proper public notification.

Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this ABC station.

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