Disney sues Florida governor over “orchestrated campaign” threatening its operation
The pulse of strength between Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantishas escalated this Wednesday with the filing of a lawsuit in which the entertainment giant claims to be the victim of a “punishment” campaign. orchestrated by the Republican leader and other Floridian authorities.
Walt Disney World has sued DeSantis. and other officials for a “orchestrated campaign” which constitutes a “threat” to its “business operations”. and “its economic future” in a region where it has a theme park and hotel complex with a workforce of more than 70,000 people and which generates $1.2 billion (approximately €1.086 billion) in taxes per year.
The business group further notes that. its “constitutional rights” are being violated in Florida.according to the text of the lawsuit he has filed in federal court in Tallahassee, the state capital.
“The lawsuit is another unfortunate example of his hope to undermine the will of Florida voters. and operate outside the bounds of the law,” added Governor’s Office communications director Taryn Fenske.
Governor DeSantis, whom Disney has described as an anti-Florida and anti-business politician.is out of the U.S., on an international tour.
Criticism of ‘Don’t say gay’ law ignited a flame.
The origin of the confrontation is in a criticism made by Disney in 2022 of a law promoted by DeSantis. and known as “Don’t Say Gay,” which prohibits talk of gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.
DeSantis made no secret of his anger at this criticism and shortly thereafter he began to talk about the need for Disney to stop having autonomy. in the district near Orlando where its parks are located.
Last February the idea came to fruition with a bill passed by the Republican-dominated Floridian Congress, and then signed by DeSantis, that would ended more than half a century of Disney self-government.but there was still more wood left to throw on the fire.
Before losing home rule, the entertainment groupin a legal move that surprised DeSantis, signed agreements in perpetuity with the state supervisors. which virtually bound hand and foot the new officials appointed by the governor to control” the Disney district, called Reedy Creek.
The lawsuit was filed this morning as members of the DeSantis-created oversight board voted to invalidate the series of agreements Disney made earlier this year.
“We know of no legal right that a company has to operate its own government or maintain special privileges. that other businesses in the state do not have,” countered Taryn Fenske, in the statement released after the lawsuit.
In the judicial text, Disney has asserted that “today’s action is the last blow: at the Governor’s urging, the state supervisory board purported to ‘nullify’ publicly noticed development contracts. and duly agreed upon, which had laid the groundwork for billions of dollars of Disney investment and thousands of jobs.”
Disney argues that “for more than half a century” it has had an “iImmeasurable impact on Florida and its economy.establishing Central Florida as one of the world’s premier tourist destinations and attracting tens of millions of visitors to the state each year.”
Investments at risk
As highlighted by various local media, Robert A. IgerDisney’s chief executive officer, has warned that future investment in Disney World could be at risk. if the governor continues to use them as a “political punching bag.”
The company has earmarked more than $17 billion (15,400 euros) to invest in its Floridian parks over the next decade.which would create approximately 13,000 jobs.
“A company has the right to freedom of expression. just as individuals do,” Iger recently noted at the annual shareholder meeting when speaking about criticism of “Don’t Say Gay”.
“Punishment” and “retaliation.” are the words that Disney uses to describe the alleged campaign for which he is suing DeSantis, the five members of the new oversight board and the acting head of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Meredith Ivey.
Democrat Anna V. Eskamaniwho represents the city of Orlando in the Florida Congress, criticized DeSantis on Twitter upon learning of the lawsuit.
“It really takes a terrible governor for someone like me to express support for a corporation….but it’s been quite a circus to watch DeSantis continue to attack and demonize Walt Disney World Corporation because they expressed an opinion he didn’t like and stopped giving him campaign contributions,” Eskamani said.
Congresswoman, the daughter of Iranian immigrants ends by saying: “I wish Disney luck in its litigation.o and I ask the governor to drop it.”
DeSantiswho was re-elected in 2022 with a large majority, is entrenching his ultra-conservative agenda with a battery of laws that without passing with ease because they Florida’s two houses of Congress are dominated by Republicans.
He is expected upon his return from the current tour and to coincide with the close of the Congressional session in early May, the governor will announce that he aspires to be the Republican nominee. in the 2024 presidential election.