In a significant development in the yearlong feud between Walt Disney Co and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Florida judge has rejected Disney’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the oversight district.
The ruling now allows the oversight district to pursue its case, seeking to nullify “backroom deals” previously struck with Disney by a prior district board earlier this year. If successful, these actions could greatly impact Disney’s own federal case against Governor DeSantis.
The dispute between the entertainment giant and the governor began last year when Disney publicly criticized a Florida law that banned classroom discussions about sexuality and gender identity with younger children. In response, Governor DeSantis, who is also seeking the Republican presidential nomination, has been vocal in his criticism of what he refers to as “woke Disney.”
This led to the passage of bills that reconstituted the district as the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, effectively transferring power over the board from Disney to the governor. Additionally, agreements that Disney had previously reached with the prior board, under the Reedy Creek Improvement District, were retroactively invalidated just as they were brought under DeSantis’s control.
In April, Disney took its grievances to federal court, filing a lawsuit against Governor DeSantis. According to the lawsuit, the governor “weaponized” the state government against Disney as revenge for the company’s resistance to the statute requiring classroom gender discussions.
Tensions in Ongoing Feud with Governor DeSantis
Disney sought an injunction from the federal court to prevent the state from enforcing laws specifically aimed at the company and to reinstate the development agreements that had been favorable to Disney, which were previously struck with the prior district’s board.
The recent ruling by the Florida judge denying Disney’s motion to dismiss the oversight district’s lawsuit adds another layer of complexity to the ongoing dispute. The oversight district is now granted the opportunity to proceed with its legal challenge, potentially jeopardizing the favorable deals Disney had secured with the prior board.
The outcome of this case could significantly impact Disney’s own federal lawsuit against Governor DeSantis. As the legal battle continues, tensions remain high between the entertainment giant and the Florida governor.
Both parties are firmly entrenched in their positions, and the implications of these legal proceedings could have broader ramifications for other businesses and governmental entities operating within the state.
The situation remains fluid, and further developments are anticipated as the oversight district’s case moves forward. In the meantime, the Florida community watches closely, hoping for a resolution that will address the underlying issues while promoting harmony and cooperation between the parties involved.